November 18, 2020

Asking Community to Shop Local, Support Businesses This Holiday Season

To the Editor:

I am the owner of Miya Table & Home on Palmer Square. As a relatively new resident and business owner in Princeton, I am continually amazed by this town. Once the pandemic hit, individual volunteers and organizations popped up to help. Local businesses immediately stepped up to donate goods or services. When local businesses needed help, individuals who could donated to the businesses’ Go Fund Me accounts.

The township set up the Princeton Small Business Resiliency Fund with help from the University and other groups.  We at Miya Table & Home created shirts and bags to show Princeton township pride and to raise money for the resiliency fund. When we approached other business owners to help spread the word, they did so without a moment’s hesitation. Groups of students and faculty offered their services for free to local businesses.

During the initial shutdown, some customers told us that they planned to patronize the local businesses that were still operating every week just to help keep them afloat. When we asked the community to make origami paper cranes for the Princeton Paper Crane Project to honor lives lost during these challenging times, we imagined we would get a couple thousand cranes. We received almost 18,000. Ross Wishnick, from Human Services, helped to distribute information and connect us with the right people. The Arts Council of Princeton took a chance on the project and welcomed us into their gallery space. Princeton is a pretty special place and we feel very fortunate to be a part of it.

I’m writing today to ask our neighbors to come through for the town once again. Yes, it is quite convenient and easy to shop online — technology makes everything easier.  But you miss out on the charm of this town, the wonderful businesses, and interaction with your neighbors. If you also consider that local businesses provide jobs, pay taxes, utilize other local businesses and services, donate to more local nonprofits, generally have smaller carbon footprint, and add to the character of the community, there is no substitute for supporting local. 

Projections show that one-third of all small businesses may permanently close due to the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Here in Princeton, we have, sadly, already seen many businesses close for good.

As we head into the holiday season, we ask that everyone consider spending some, if not all, of their gift budget locally. Miya Table & Home is part of a group of businesses who will reward you with a discount if you show a receipt from one of the other participating local merchants. (Details can be found on our social media or the new Facebook Group called “Love Local Princeton.”)

Love Local Princeton exemplifies the solidarity within and caring nature of our local community.  If you treasure our community too, please shop local and support Princeton’s small businesses and organizations before some of us are lost for good.

Hoping everyone remains safe and healthy.

Heidi Moon Matsukawa
Miya Table & Home
Palmer Square West