OCEAN COUNTY – It’s very important that residents shop local, Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said.
“We want everyone to buy local,” Vicari said. “We want you to buy in Ocean County.”
“Buy in Ocean County” is an effort fronted by Vicari, who serves as liaison to Tourism and Business Development. There are many benefits to buying locally.
“This year I want to encourage everyone to buy locally,” Vicari said. “Our downtowns and business areas have so much to offer. I am asking you to patronize local businesses including our small ‘mom and pop’ stores. These stores offer a host of items, many unique, along with great customer service.
“So many of them support our community organizations,” he said. “This is the perfect time to remember them as you set out to do your holiday shopping.”
Ocean County not only offers shopping hubs at Ocean County Mall and Jackson Premium Outlets, but has numerous charming downtown areas that offer one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques.
“From Point Pleasant Beach to Tuckerton, across the county, downtowns offer some of the best choices for holiday shopping,” Vicari said. “Many of these stores are owned by long-time residents that continue to be a staple in our communities. Make a day out of it – shop, have lunch and just enjoy the area. There is plenty to see and do in all of our municipalities. The towns are all festively decorated for the holidays. Shopping is fun and easy when you shop locally.”
Many towns have added holiday attractions like carriage rides or trolley services. Shoppers should also look for seasonal discounts at local merchants.
Customers are also protected against fraud when shopping locally, something outside state jurisdiction and not necessarily offered when making purchases through an out-of-state company. Returns, when offered, are easy to make as well.
Anyone with complaints about purchases not being fulfilled or other concerns can contacted the county’s Department of Consumer Affairs at 732-929-2105.
“We see the same problems year after year,” Vicari, who is chairman of the Consumer Affairs Department, said “Merchandise is not received in time for the holidays, there are problems with backorders and some received items barely resembling their catalog photos and descriptions.”
“When you buy local, you are protected against fraud,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “Our county and state agencies have more authority when dealing with a local business complaint. Our Department of Consumer Affairs is well known for getting a successful outcome to a complaint.
“You can drive down the street and visit the store rather than pack and ship a package across country,” Little said.
“This county is filled with small businesses that carry items that will be enjoyed for years to come,” Vicari said. “Our small businesses offer something for everyone. And if your loved one is tough to shop for, gift cards to our restaurants and small shops will be greatly appreciated.”
During the holidays and throughout the year, Vicari said its small business owners who work hard to bring a pleasant experience to all shoppers.
“Local business owners are known for giving back to their communities. Buying locally helps our economy and promises a positive outcome for both the shopper and the business owner,” Vicari said. “The results are priceless.”