ALBANY, N.Y. — “I Shop New York” is a new initiative launched by the Retail Council of New York State to encourage shoppers to support local stores before turning to out of state Internet-only merchants.

According to Ted Potrikus, the council’s executive vice president, “Retailers employ more New Yorkers than any other industry.  One in five of nearly 2.5 million jobs are directly or indirectly supported by retailers.”
The council, a not for profit trade association, asked member merchants how it could help the state’s business community to continue to recover from the most recent recession.  Any business with a physical presence in New York State can receive a free six month trial of “I Shop New York.” After the trial, retailers that want to continue to participate in the program pay $50 to use it for the rest of the year.

The council also offers a range of money-saving programs and services including workers compensation insurance, credit card processing, and energy savings.  “Local businesses are the backbone of our communities.  They employ our neighbors, support our tax base and charities, and add vibrancy and variety to our business districts,” said Potrikus.
The statewide campaign marketed extensively by the Retail Council is primarily using new media and public relations to build communities of support among local business owners and to create a strong statewide business community by informing shoppers about local businesses.

“Annual retail sales in New York State exceed $230 billion, 16 percent of New York’s GDP is generated by the retail industry.  Large and small, brick and mortar retailers and online merchants with a presence in New York State account for 45.1 percent of the taxable sales and purchases in the state’s tax base,” explained Potrikus.

“If you choose to shop online with-out-of state merchants that often don’t even collect sales tax, not a single penny finds its way back to your community.  In fact New York State will lose an estimated$865 million in sales tax revenue in 2012 from e-commerce transaction in addition, to sales tax. New York’s retailers also pay property and other state and local taxes,” said Potrikus.