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Buy Local' program to assist businesses

CROWN POINT - The Essex County Industrial Development Agency has developed a program to assist local businesses that lost money as a result of the closing of the Lake Champlain Bridge in Crown Point.

The program evolved from meetings held in late 2009 with businesses in the towns of Moriah, Crown Point and Ticonderoga coordinated by the Essex County IDA in conjunction with Empire State Development.

"We gathered information and input from the local business owners' perspectives at these meetings to determine how best to address this unanticipated loss of commerce in those communities," said Carol Calabrese, co-executive director of the Essex County IDA. "We used this information to submit a marketing proposal to Empire State Development, and were successful in receiving an award of $50,000 to develop and implement a marketing campaign to attract consumers and ease economic strain in the communities that were most severely affected by the bridge closure."

The new program promotes local businesses to local residents of both New York and Vermont with the theme "Let's bridge together and buy local. Visit ShopChamplain.com. Together, we can keep our communities thriving."

"The buy local program allows residents to pitch in and directly help their neighborhood businesses by encouraging them with creative incentives to shop and dine at local establishments," said Empire State Development Chairman and CEO designate Dennis M. Mullen. "The towns of Moriah, Crown Point and Ticonderoga depend heavily upon the success of these small businesses, which are still facing tremendous challenges as a result of the unanticipated loss of customers due to the Champlain Bridge closure. I'm pleased that Empire State Development and the Essex County IDA have partnered together to offer the community an opportunity to become a part of the solution as we work towards sustainable economic recovery in the region."

The campaign includes a promotional brochure, which will be available at participating businesses, local chambers of commerce, at information centers along the I87 corridor and at the ferry landing in Crown Point.

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