JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION – 1 – 6 p.m. Celebrate the emancipation of the last American slaves with a festival featuring a full day of Black culture, food, music, performances, and art. There will also be bounce house, face painting, gallery displays, and food from Oneonta’s local black businesses. There will also be organizations and services available to provide educational opportunities. It’s a fun day for the whole family to celebrate freedom. Field #5, Neahwa Park, (15 James Georgeson Ave.), Oneonta. 607-432-4500 or visit www.facebook.com/TheOtsegoCountyChamber/
Shoppers are up against the hard deadline for getting their gifts from internet stores, so what better reason to visit Otsego County’s vast array of local and unique shops?
Aside from supporting neighbors and your community, local shoppers drive the sales tax dollars necessary to support Otsego County services.
“For every dollar we spend locally there are about 10 more local transactions from those business owners,” said Otsego County Treasurer Alan Ruffles. He said sales tax revenue goes in part toward safety and emergency preparedness such as 911 and ambulance services. Sales tax revenue also supports public services such as the Office for the Aging, addiction recovery services, and more.
Adrian Kuzminski’s recent article on the benefits of local business ownership and how a simple regulation can effectively hold off big business consolidation gives us another opportunity to better understand the current state of rural economies like ours.
The consolidation and productivity increases in the dairy industry have nearly wiped out the small business farm economy in our region. That economy supported myriad small businesses such as mechanics, electricians, feeds stores, and so on that kept their profits and capital here. This capital was deposited in local banks like Wilber National and rein-vested here as this was their market.
In 2020, Otsego County lost our remaining, local, full-service bank — The Bank of Cooperstown —
when Wayne Bank, a mid-sized regional bank located in northeast Pennsylvania, purchased it. The name
has not changed yet due to the Bank of Cooperstown’s strong local brand.
Back in the mid-20th century, Cooperstown was a thriving local village, taking great care of its residents and neighbors with a Main Street riddled with all manner of shops and cafés, hardware stores and markets, a gas station, a car dealer, a bank or two and a movie theater, built in 1920, to fill up empty evenings and afternoons with glorious cinematic amusements. The Freeman’s Journal and The Otsego Farmer were on Main Street. too, welcoming all who had anything to say.
Today, with tourism now the major breadwinner for the village and high rents threatening, Main Street has changed. Many of the businesses that took care of our immediate needs in the past have rethought their uses and provisions, others have retreated to other, less central, outposts, and still others have closed their doors, their wares exchanged for Amazon boxes and envelopes outside front doors.