State Encourages New Yorkers To Shop Locally on Small Business Saturday

Supporting Local Businesses this Saturday and Year-Round Strengthens Communities and Boosts Local Economies

Watch the Department of Labor’s Small Business Saturday Video Here 

Read the COVID-19 Guidance for Retailers During the Holiday Shopping Season Here

This Saturday, November 28, 2020, is “Small Business Saturday” in New York State and today Empire State Development, and the Departments of Labor, Taxation and Finance, and Agriculture and Markets encourages all New Yorkers to safely support their local small businesses, which are in need of our help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses generate millions of jobs throughout the Empire State and by choosing to shop locally Saturday, and every day, New Yorkers are investing in their neighborhoods, strengthening their communities, and keeping tax dollars within New York State.

“We encourage all New Yorkers to help support struggling small businesses now and throughout the holiday season,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our businesses and our residents, it’s important to support local, small businesses in our communities. With Small Business Saturday and the holiday shopping season, there are many safe ways to support businesses by shopping online, buying gift cards, or posting on social media. We are committed to helping our small businesses with the New York Forward Loan Fund, Empire State Digital and other initiatives to raise awareness and lift each other up during the holidays and year-round.”

State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, Small businesses are the catalyst in fueling our local economies and it is more critical than ever that we support them on Small Business Saturday and every day. They are playing a vital role in New York’s economic resurgence as we move our State forward and through this pandemic. We should all do our part to ensure that they remain prosperous and at the epicenter of our neighborhoods.”

Small Business Saturday celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners and invites shoppers to visit local stores at the beginning of the busy holiday shopping season. The small business sector is a major contributor to the foundation of New York’s economy, accounting for 98 percent of all businesses in the state and employing more than 52 percent of New York’s private sector workforce. New York State has more than 600,000 small business proprietors, employing more than 4 million people.

New York State’s Support for Small Business During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While ESD can provide assistance through an array of programs and initiatives designed to support small business growth and help entrepreneurs maximize their opportunities for success, we have created several programs to help small businesses, nonprofits and small residential landlords navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, including:

  • The $100 million New York Forward Loan Fund, a public and private partnership that allows Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) to scale and support small business on their road recovery by offering affordable loans with favorable terms to eligible applicants with 20 or fewer employees with revenues of under $3 million.
  • Empire State Digital provides quick solutions to address the urgent needs of small businesses that are looking to for new markets or opportunities by partnering with leading global e-commerce enablers.  This is a first-in-the-nation program with the partners offering education, training, marketing support, and discounted pricing.

ESD has also provided:

  • Financial support to 70 Non-Profit Organizations to help small businesses receive assistance in response to the pandemic
  • $15 million of loan capital to CDFIs to provide Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
  • $300,000 in Research and Development grant funding to small businesses to increase manufacturing of ventilators, personal protective equipment, and new technologies in the areas of diagnostics and vaccine
  • Created the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership COVID-19 Recovery Initiative offering $2.3 million in grants to support New York manufacturers manage challenges created by COVID-19

The New York State Department of Labor offers a multitude of no-cost services for businesses of all sizes, including 117,000 job postings on Governor Cuomo’s Jobs Express website, access to tens of thousands of qualified candidates in our talent pool, virtual career, and even Human Resources consultation services. More than 25,000 businesses each year work with DOL to list their jobs, find the right candidates, access hiring and training incentives, obtain business tax credits and incentives, get help with one-on-one labor law and safety and health compliance services, and find layoff aversion resources. For more information, visit: See how you can make a difference on Small Business Saturday:

New York State offers dozens of beneficial tax breaks to help small businesses. The Tax Department’s dedicated Business incentives webpage is a one-stop shop for details about tax credits and incentives for a variety of enterprises in various industries—from farming and agriculture to research and development to manufacturing. Businesses may also qualify for dozens of job credits and incentives for hiring and training local workers, or for tax credits and exemptions intended to encourage property improvements. The Tax Department’s website,, offers businesses and their representatives a convenient way to meet their tax obligations. The Online Services for businesses webpage provides efficient ways to make payments, view filing information, or otherwise interact with the Tax Department.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets supports New York’s nearly 33,000 farms, 700 farmers’ markets and farm stands and thousands of small agribusinesses across the State through its various programs. More important now than ever before, the Department continues to promote New York growers and food producers through its marketing programs, NYS Grown & Certified and Taste NY. NYS Grown & Certified now has over 3,000 farms participating on 750,000 acres of land, all committed to sustainability and food safety. Taste NY has grown to over 1,800 participants and its stores and markets at New York’s Welcome Centers have implemented creative options to encourage consumers to buy local during the pandemic, including piloting online, call-ahead, curbside pick-up and produce box programs, and hosting a virtual business-to-business event, all to further maintain and grow business for New York producers.

This holiday season, Welcome Centers and Taste NY locations are offering a wide variety of gifts and gift sets filled with local products made and produced by New York farms and food and beverage producers. Additionally, an online marketplace,, launched in spring 2020, allows consumers to shop for New York agricultural products and gifts from the comfort of their own homes. has holiday gift sets available for purchase in addition to their regular selection of products that highlight the quality and diversity of New York products. Orders can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. and Canada, and those placed by December 17 will arrive by December 24. Find your local Welcome Center and Taste NY store here

In addition, the Department’s Divisions assist small agri-businesses and farmers by providing a variety of support services that enhance their business, increasing productivity, profitability and competitiveness.

How to Support Small Businesses Safely During COVID-19 

  • Purchase gift cards– Most small businesses, from your favorite restaurant, bar or coffee shop, your neighborhood specialty retailer, or your local hair salon, offer gift cards or gift certificates. By purchasing gift cards, it will inject needed investment into these businesses well past the holiday season.
  • Order take out or delivery from your local bar or restaurant– Don’t forget to tip well. Restaurant workers have been hit among the hardest by the pandemic. Many restaurants are offering curbside delivery.
  • Shop online– If your favorite local business has a web presence, shop online to avoid crowds. Many businesses will ship or offer curbside delivery.
  • Give positive reviews– If you have found a great product, meal, or service or even a great promotion or sale, let your friends and family know. Don’t forget to leave a great review on your social media feed. The best advertising is word-of-mouth.
  • If you have to make a return, take a store credit over a refund– If you can. This keeps the money within the small business and every little but helps.