Two new shop local experiences available downtown

Guide to Being Local book

Guide to Being Local book giveaway and Read Local happening throughout October


OCTOBER 7, 2020 ITHACA NY — Throughout this month, downtown Ithaca businesses are participating in a pair of locally crafted initiatives meant to reward customers who support the independently owned and operated shops in the community.

Among the shop-local incentives are the Guide to Being Local book giveaway.

Guide to Being Local book

Throughout the month of October, when customers spend $25 at participating businesses, they will receive a FREE Guide to Local book.

When customers spend over $25 at Ithacamade, The Brain Shoppe, American Crafts by Robbie Dein, SewGreen, Breathe, 15 STEPS, Buffalo Street Books, The Bloomwell, Lucky Hare Brewing Company, SewGreen, and Cayuga Chamber Orchestra they will be rewarded with a free Guide to Being Local book (while supplies last). This coveted guide is filled with interesting stories about local businesses and locally made products. Plus, it offers valuable coupons offering thousands of dollars in savings on products and services at local businesses.

“The goal of Local First Ithaca and the Guide to Being Local is to inspire folks to support local, independently-owned businesses. These businesses are the backbone of a strong, local economy, as well as representing our own unique, “Ithaca Culture,” says Jan Rhodes Norman of Local First Ithaca. “The last six months were very challenging for our businesses. As we begin to reopen, Local First Ithaca wants to do our part to encourage people to visit their favorite shops and try some new ones. That’s where the idea behind subsidizing getting guides into the hands of customers comes in. We hope that the Guide to Being Local will energize people to venture back out and shop locally. Be a Localist!”

Downtown Ithaca Alliance Business Support Coordinator Kristina Thelen adds, “This giveaway is an invitation to come and support local businesses and get something back. During the COVID closures, there was a disruption to normal shopping behaviors. Everyone’s paths and habits rightfully became smaller. With our community’s commitment to safe COVID precautions, this book is filled with nice little savings that can be used at various local businesses that will inspire the community to visit and shop once more. The hope is that it will be an added incentive to explore and support a wider amount of businesses that have proved to continue to operate and support the unique commerce of our wonderful community safely.”

The second October initiative orchestrated by local businesses is Read Local. This is a push to raise awareness regarding the abundance of resources available in the community and to encourage everyone to harvest their reading material locally.

Downtown Ithaca is a literacy-rich environment, home to Odyssey Bookstore, Buffalo Street Books, Autumn Leaves Used Books, Comics for Collectors, Tompkins County Public Library, and other businesses offering a variety of reading materials, from classics to the latest titles. You can find these shops and many other book-selling businesses using the handy Read Local Map available at many downtown businesses.

This reading initiative was made possible by Laura Larson, owner of Odyssey Bookstore, and Lisa Swayze, Buffalo Street manager, who joined forces to advance the literacy centric idea further.

“Coming out of the pandemic shut down, we were all extremely aware of the value in supporting our local community. The idea behind Read Local is to challenge and inspire our local community (and any “Locals” for a day) to obtain their books from locally owned/operated sources. The hope is to create connections between local businesses and organizations, helping people who know one participant to learn about the others and to give everyone in our town a chance to participate simply by reading a book. No purchase required.”

Read Local is happening in conjunction with Friends of the Tompkins County Library’s annual book sale happening October 17-19, 24-26, & Oct 31-Nov 3. For more information about the book sale, visit

Plus, check out the Halloween-related festivities happening at Alphabet Soup. This children’s toy shop on the Commons is hosting Pumpkin Pets, a safe and fun activity where you may decorate a pumpkin with stickers and take it home to be your pet! Dressing up and costumes are positively encouraged — and don’t forget your mask!

Aside from enjoying these shopping experiences, mark your calendars for Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday happening November 27, 29, and 30th. More details about these special holiday shopping days will be available soon at



Darlene M. Wilber,
Communications Manager
Downtown Ithaca Alliance

ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE: The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1997 and charged with the management, promotion, development, and revitalization of the Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District. For more information, visit