By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Dec. 15, 2021: As the holiday season is clearly upon us, our Village merchants need resident support in the next two weeks more than ever as they have weathered two trying years. Not only does buying locally add to both the business and Village’s bottom line, but this year, more than ever, it sends the equally important and needed message to our merchants that their presence in the Village is valued and appreciated.
Bronxville has one of the highest concentrations per square foot of locally owned independent businesses in the county, many of the businesses with us 20+ years, one even 60+ years. Year in and year out, they serve as the backbone, a stabilizing force in our Village.
Not only do they offer unique and well curated gifts, they give the personal attention so lacking in the mail order business- the opportunity to touch, feel and try on a purchase while connecting in a personal way with the shop owner. The personal touch extends to special orders, beautifully wrapped gifts, and easy returns.
I have been reading much about the Blue Zones in the world; those areas where people live much longer than their neighboring countrymen. One of the key factors is the personal human interaction -making purchases in person by walking to nearby businesses and sustaining social ties not only with the store staff but those who may be waiting in line with us at the post office or the bagel store. The endorphins released by positive human interaction genuinely contribute to happiness and longevity.
Our merchants also live in a relationship based economy. They all buy parking permits, pay a great deal of taxes that go directly to support our Village and school, buy goods and food from their fellow merchants – as you might notice, the beautiful flowers at Underhill‘s Restaurant come from Tryforos and Pernice just steps away across Pondfield Road. They also use the services of our local professionals, including lawyers, accountants, computer consultants, and graphic designers. Thus the ripple effect begins. Every $10 million spent in a local business district creates 57 new jobs while the same spending at Amazon creates 14. The money reinvested in a community is real. As a result of $100 of local spending, 68%, or more than twice that of a big box store purchase, stays in a community.
Local business owners, a full 91% of them, contribute to local charities and institutions at a rate 250% more than chain stores or mail order operations.
From a governmental perspective, the sales tax revenue generated by local businesses is key to the success and stabilization of every municipal budget nationwide. Fully one third of all state revenues, totaling over $150 billion annually, accrue from the collection of sales tax.
At the Village level, the sales tax revenue from shopping locally is a major factor in our financial health. On average, we have received sales tax revenues of approximately $900,000 per year over the last decade. Since a Village spending increase or revenue loss of just $80,000 results in a full one-point tax increase yearly, I can’t imagine a sustainable budget without this infusion of cash.
Bottom line, if you shop online versus Pondfield Road or Palmer Avenue, the savings you theoretically reap come home to roost in the form of higher local property taxes and/or a decrease in municipal services. In contrast, a local purchase sends money directly to our school and government and sends a message that you are investing in the future of your home and a stronger, more resilient community, all of which adds to the quality of life.
In addition, it has been conclusively proven that home values are directly related to the condition and vitality of one’s local business district. The nexus between often our greatest personal asset and local commerce is indisputable.
Beyond financial benefits, studies have often also proven:
-Independent stores consistently beat their large competitors in overall customer satisfaction.
-The environment is positively affected as people walk more when shopping locally, less gas is consumed and the air quality is better vs buying items by the shipping method adds 1 billion metric tons of CO2 per year to the environment.
-Research proves that citizens are attracted- often the most skilled workers and entrepreneurs- and more likely to settle in communities that preserve their unique and varied commercial character as well as their residential character.
-Local small size businesses are also regulated; i.e., signage, awnings, sidewalk condition, windowscape etc. by local residents who have a say as to their surrounding environment and aesthetics.
-Children are offered an appropriate degree of independence when allowed to walk for school supplies or an after school treat.
-Our sidewalks are an important confluence of intergenerational connection as strollers share space with our seniors and multi-generational discourse is fostered.
As champions of the “buy local” ethos, we realize it is not possible to purchase everything you need locally; we just ask you to think local first. You will not only be getting a nice gift or a delicious meal but helping your neighbor perhaps keep a job, supporting a nonprofit, or making someone’s day simply by smiling with a purchase. Shopping locally ends up being the best bargain on every level.
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
Village of Bronxville Administrative Offices
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