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‘Unique gifts’ at home

Borrello touts small businesses in ongoing tours

State Sen. George Borrello visited Chautauqua Soap Company in Jamestown on his Small Business Tour this year.

State Sen. George Borrello has been touring small businesses since 2017 and still continues to this day, most recently visiting local shops on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, began his tours around the time he became county executive.

“I wanted to bring attention to those local businesses who offer an alternative to big box retailers and online shopping,” he said. “This year was my fourth year of doing the tour.”

With a state Senate district that spans four counties, Borrello couldn’t get it all done in one day, so he added Black Friday to his tour.

“What I found especially inspiring this year is that so many shoppers truly seemed to embrace the idea of supporting local businesses,” Borrello said. “So many places I visited reported that they had been busy on Friday and Saturday. Some places, like Dot’s Boutique in Jamestown, even had lines to get in the store at one point. Also, many of the shoppers I encountered were genuinely impressed with the prices, quality and unique selections they encountered by shopping local.”

Rusty Rooster in Portville with a large piece of reclaimed wood that will be made into a custom table.

Borrello commented that even those customers that were looking for name-brand items were able to find a deal at small businesses and even found that they carried hard-to-find brand names.

Others carried locally produced gourmet products that people are less likely to find at big-box stores.

“I was very impressed to see that so many local shops carry locally-made items. For example, I saw Chautauqua Soap Company’s high-quality products not only at their store on Third Street in Jamestown but at other local shops as well,” he said. “The partnership between shop owners and local producers and artists can be seen at so many places throughout the region.”

On Saturday, Borrello and his wife Kelly shopped down Third Street and visited the new location for Chautauqua Soap Company. From there they went to Dot’s Boutique for some gift ideas and holiday decor. He explained that sometimes people think that small businesses only offer high-priced specific items, but Borrello believes otherwise.

“I want to dispel a myth. Supporting local small businesses does not mean paying too much or having less choices. In fact, it’s quite the opposite,” he said. “Kelly and I found so many unique gifts for the people on our Christmas list at great prices. What I would like to share with everyone is that you can stay local, avoid the hassle of big box stores or the uncertainty of on-line purchases, and still find great value and unique gift items.”

Bova’s Music and Train Shoppe in Westfield is a “hidden gem,” according to Borrello and his wife Kelly.

Borrello even visited Kirk’s Jewelers in Dunkirk, which offers “well-known brand names and competitive pricing along with the personal service that you won’t get at a big box store.” They were able to buy a beautiful necklace at a great price and it was gift-wrapped for them as well.

The couple also visited a local business in Westfield that sells trains, musical instruments, and does repairs. “There’s a hidden gem on McClurg St in Westfield, Bova’s Music & Train Shoppe! Owners Rusty and Sue Bova normally travel to train shows around the country, but not since the pandemic,” Borrello’s Facebook post reads. “So their store in the basement of their home is set up for Christmas and they have great prices! Kelly and I stopped in today and bought some accessories for my nephew and a Christmas train set for Villaggio Italiano (a restaurant in Silver Creek that the couple own) for the holidays!”

Borrello was excited to see that others on social media were doing similar small business tours this year, including County Executive PJ Wendel and Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek. “The more we can share the experience of shopping local, the better.”

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