This opinion piece was published last year on Dec. 20 by Ithaca Voice Managing Editor Jolene Almendarez. We are republishing the same opinion piece this year to remind people of the benefits of shopping local. 

ITHACA, N.Y. — If there is ever a time of year for Ithacans to show each other what this city is made of, it’s the quiet holiday season.

With students gone and freezing temperatures setting in, the traffic to local shops and restaurants slows to a snail’s pace. And that’s not necessarily anecdotal. According to a Sales Tax Report presented to the Tompkins County Legislature Tuesday night, as of November, there was a reported .53 percent decrease in sales tax compared to last year.

That might not seem like a lot, but it accounts for a decrease of more than $158,000 compared to last year.

This is why can’t have nice things, folks.

If we want to keep the unique Ithaca vibe alive and well, we have to invest in keeping the unique Ithaca vibe alive and well.

I’m from San Antonio, Texas. On a recent trip home, I was disgusted to see that my hometown was “booming” with non-local development. And by “booming”, I mean corporate restaurant Margaritaville being built near the historic Riverwalk and a California-based In and Out Burger down the street from the South Texas-based eatery Whataburger.

It didn’t feel like San Antonio anymore.

So let’s not let that happen here. Shop local. Eat local. If every Ithacan bought even one holiday gift or meal at a local establishment, it could very well make a world of difference to our community.

If you need to get a few items online, do so knowledgeably.

As Second Ward Alderman Ducson Nguyen recently pointed out on social media, smile.amazon.com donates .5 percent of eligible purchases to a local charity of one’s choice. There are nearly 500 charities listed in the Ithaca area, including Grater Ithaca Activities Center, the Southside Community Center, Ithaca Underground, Loaves & Fishes, and many, many more.

Featured photo courtesy of the Downtown Ithaca Instagram.

Check out these Instagram posts for just a taste of local shopping options. (And no, The Voice didn’t receive any sponsorship money to include these posts in this article.)

Look at this jam. Aren’t these jars cute?

Local jam restock perfect for a delicious little holiday gift! #amuseithaca #downtownithaca #jam #shopsmall #shoplocal

A photo posted by Amuse: Modern Cottage Industry (@amuseithaca) on

Sunny Days lets people shop via Skype appointment. 

Peace poles – perfect gift for times like this! #peace

A video posted by Sunny Days of Ithaca (@sunnydaysofithaca) on

And who doesn’t love local coffee?

Open Christmas Eve!#lastminutegifts #somethingforeveryone #localcoffee #localgifts #ithacany

A photo posted by Ithaca Coffee Company (@ithacacoffee) on

One word: Omnomnom

Tomato Bisque vs. White Chicken Chili

A post shared by Gorgers (@gorgerssubs) on

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.