Nov 13, 2011 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
Sparkytown, a restaurant tucked into the Hawley Green district, is becoming a popular purveyor of locally-produced goods.
Buy Local Bash
Benjamin’s on Franklin
314 Franklin St., Armory Square.
6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21
Cost: $20 advance, available online syracusefirst.org, or at Sparkytown
$25 at the door
“People come here and it’s sort of like ‘Cheers,’” said owner Linda “Sparky” Mortimer. “It’s warm, welcome and it’s like they’re part of something.”
That’s the appeal of local business, Mortimer said. She and other vendors will be taking part in the second annual Buy Local Bash, sponsored by not-for-profit Syracuse First, at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, at Benjamin’s on Franklin in Armory Square.
The event is the kick-off to Shop Syracuse week, part of a national campaign by more than 85 communities to encourage shopping at locally-owned businesses.
“Here’s an opportunity to engage citizens with ways to impact the community directly while doing holiday shopping,” said Chris Fowler, executive director of Syracuse First.
The event will feature local roots band Los Blancos and act as a taste of the region’s locally owned businesses. Restaurants will offer samples of their traditional dishes, Empire Brewery will be on-site with beer samples and Cazenovia winery Owera Vineyards will be there with regional wines.
“It gives people who haven’t had a chance to try Syracuse a chance to get more familiar with the businesses,” Mortimer said. “It puts in people’s minds how important it is to shop locally.”
The event will celebrate what is “wonderful, great and unique” about Central New York, Fowler said.
“People don’t go to Oregon to go to Applebee’s or Chili’s,” said Jamie White, marketing director for Syracuse First. “They go for a unique experience and that’s something we’re trying to promote in Syracuse.”
A locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market.
According to Syracuse First, if 10 percent more shopping was done at locally-owned, independent stores and restaurants, it would result in $130 million new economic activity in Onondaga County.
“Our economy has not been the strongest in Central New York,” Fowler said. “The solutions have not been able to provide the results for the economy. The reality is that the engine of the economy are businesses that are opening and creating jobs that have more than just an economical benefit, but a community benefit, as well.”
For each dollar spent at locally-owned businesses, between 70 and 80 cents of that dollar is returned to the community through payroll and other services a business offers, Mortimer said.
“It’s really important to emphasize that by spending money locally, you’ve made a commitment to making an intimate connection with someone who lives in the community,” she added. “It’s what has helped me stay.”
Mortimer moved to Syracuse from the Bronx and Long Island two decades ago. About four years ago, she opened Sparkytown a few blocks away from her home. The restaurant sits at the corner of Burnet Avenue and Catherine Street.
“I’m a big neighborhood fan,” she said. “Syracuse is a big city with a small-town sort of a feel. Syracuse is a city that’s in a renaissance. There’s a lot of potential for people to stay here.”