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'Boost Nassau' ad campaign promotes small, local retailers

"We're trying to help the small business community

"We're trying to help the small business community survive COVID-19," said Industrial Development Agency chairman Richard Kessel. Credit: Nassau County Industrial Development Agency

Nassau County has started an advertising campaign to encourage consumers to patronize small retailers on their essential shopping trips.

The $33,000 campaign, called Boost Nassau, consists of ads in weekly newspapers from April 1 through May 15, according to the county’s Industrial Development Agency, which is purchasing the ad space.

The IDA is partnering with County Executive Laura Curran and the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce on the ads, which are like the “Shop Local” promotions before the holiday shopping season every winter.

“We’re trying to help the small business community survive COVID-19,” said IDA chairman Richard Kessel, referring to the virus that has turned local downtowns into ghost towns.

The IDA board, meeting via teleconference on Tuesday, agreed unanimously to pay for the Boost Nassau ads.

Board member John Coumatos, a Bethpage restaurateur, said he and other small business owners have been impacted by government orders that have shut down nonessential businesses to halt the virus’ spread. Some businesses will never reopen and those that do “will be running on one leg," he said.

Seven in 10 Nassau businesses may lay off employees because of the coronavirus, according to a survey from Hofstra University. More than half of the 1,400 businesses polled have already issued pink slips.

Only 4.8% of business owners expect to report a profit for 2020, and for many it will be less than $100,000.

The survey, conducted March 24-April 1, will be used by Nassau’s new Economic Advisory Council to secure aid from the federal and state governments.

On Tuesday, the IDA approved a contract valued at up to $65,000 for HR&A Advisors, an economic development consulting firm in Manhattan, to “help us develop programs and seek federal assistance that can be implemented quickly,” said Kessel, who leads the advisory council with Hofstra University president Stuart Rabinowitz.

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