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Buy local movement grows in Syracuse with events & 'Plaid Friday' participation

Tom Magnarelli
The Life of Reilley Distilling Company table at the Buy Local Bash in Syracuse.

Friday is Plaid Friday, the independent, local business alternative to Black Friday, the major chains’ big sales day for consumers. The buy local movement continues its push in Syracuse.

The nonprofitSyracuseFirst launched the holiday giving season by organizing the Buy Local Bash in Syracuse. The event, which is in its sixth year, hosts venders from local businesses that give out samples, sell goods and educate the public about their companies.

Ben Reilley and his wife started the Life of Reilley Distilling Company two years ago in Cazenovia. They produce premium vodka made from all New York State ingredients. 

“When you buy Belvedere, where is your money going?" Reilley asked. "Overseas, you don’t really know where it goes. When you buy a bottle of Life of Reilley, you’re buying my daughter’s size three soccer cleats.” 

Chris Fowler, the executive director of SyracuseFirst, said Monday's Buy Local Bash had the most venders in the biggest space they have ever used.

“The fastest way to transform the economy is changing the way we behave in it," Fowler said. "For a long time we’re waiting for a silver bullet but those bullets are right in our pockets. Each and every one of us has a chance to be part of that transformation. People really like using the language of buying local and why it's important. With that, we've seen a rise in entrepreneurship, especially in the city of Syracuse."

SyracuseFirst is asking people to shift 10 percent of their spending towards locally owned, independent businesses. Fowler said it would pump millions of dollars into the region's economy, create jobs and raise tax revenue.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.