How a Great Idea Caught Fire in Towns Around Westchester
Reasons our Author, a Greeley Junior, Launched it in Chappaqua
By Matthew Cohen
Walking along the streets of downtown Chappaqua two weeks ago and seeing all the shuttered stores, I thought to myself: what a stark difference from just a month ago.
After a years’ long haul, we finally got our town back after the conclusion of the ‘Streetscapes’ construction project, and enjoyed Grand Opening festivities to celebrate our new improved downtown.
And now, this?!!
It seemed particularly sad to me, here. I couldn’t help thinking, “Will all the stores be able to re-open after the quarantine? Will they be able to survive?”
As a resident, and as a high school student, it does instill a feeling of helplessness when you can’t help the storeowners that you and your family and friends have come to value and rely on.
Soon enough, as this awful pandemic stretches on and on, and maybe will longer than anyone anticipates or even still can, I discovered Rescue Main Street. The idea was born by the firemen of Yonkers. It was so successful in Yonkers that a cousin of one of the firemen, Greg Doran of Pleasantville, decided to bring it to his town, too.
When I saw how popular it was in Pleasantville, a light bulb went off, and I thought what a great idea to bring to Chappaqua.
Rescue Main Street Chappaqua aims to increase local business when they most need it. It is not charity; it might be viewed more like a Secret Santa with the purchase of mostly $50 gift cards. More than a few residents expressed the idea that they might purchase more than one gift card, keep some, trade others.
The whole idea is that people can spend much needed money for the merchants now–and then shop later!
It definitely feels like a win-win and I encourage more gift card purchases for the storekeepers and restaurants hurting that you want to see survive the COVID-19 lockdown.
Here’s the beauty of this too, and the hidden bonus here. If you get a card for somewhere you’ve never been, maybe that will become your new favorite place too.
I’m very excited by the response so far. People have been extremely supportive and the merchants are very grateful and expressing their gratitude. The enthusiasm on the group Facebook page is real and touching. People are buying multiple cards from many different stores. I hope we can keep it going to be able to make a difference for the small businesses of Chappaqua.
After all, this is our town and we want our small business owners to be here when we are ready for it after this is all over too!
Matthew Cohen is a Jr. at Horace Greeley High School. He can’t wait until he can watch sports again, he especially missed March Madness! He loves basketball, baseball, football and hanging with his friends.