Reporter editorial: Keep the Island thriving

On these early December mornings and late afternoons, the Center comes alive with lights.

The great tree in front of the police headquarters, the firehouse, Justice Court and Town Hall are decorated for the season. This beautiful display is due to the work of Highway Department employees, the Chamber of Commerce, the Police Department and volunteers.

Family-run businesses are the backbone of the Shelter Island economy. And these businesses — some new, some decades old — are a huge part of what makes the Island such a unique place to live and visit.

Small-business owners also serve as de facto community leaders. They sit on boards of local nonprofits and serve as members of town committees. They run for office. Above all, they get involved.

Their names, or those of their businesses, appear as sponsors of Island events such as those connected to the Island Gift of Life Foundation or Thanksgiving weekend’s Turkey Plunge for the Friends of the Library, just to name two of many.

These businesses are found on programs and pamphlets for charitable events. When a local family faces a tragic circumstance, local business owners are usually the first to open their hearts and wallets.

These are hard-working men and women of vision who truly help the Island thrive.
But they need your support as well.

In the pages of this newspaper and on our website, you’ll find dozens of ads from area businesses, some funny, some pretty, some just informative. They make it possible for our editorial staff to provide news and information day and night and to keep the community engaged.

Please take time to notice what your friends and neighbors are offering through their print and online ads. What you’ll find is a wide range of products and services no big box store or mall could ever match.

What you won’t find is midnight madness, fights over doorbuster sales or, with some necessary exceptions, Christmas Day hours, which is heartening in these times of nonstop consumerism.

We at the Reporter are challenging all our readers this holiday season to visit Island stores and pick up at least one gift from a small business owner.

It’s easy. The Island merchants can provide for everyone on your list, and for those who have all gifts covered, there are still stocking stuffers and that one extra gift for someone special.

Buy local this holiday season, and keep the Island thriving.