County rolls out scavenger hunt to urge residents to shop local

Robert Pelaez
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran introduced a new initiative to urge residents to shop at the county's small businesses. (Photo courtesy of the county executive's office)

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has rolled out another initiative to aid local businesses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Curran, on Nov. 20, introduced the “Shop Safe, Shop Local, Scavenger Hunt,” where county residents can become eligible for a $100 gift card to small businesses in their community to kick off the holiday shopping season.

“Our small businesses, especially those in our once bustling downtowns, that employ so many of our neighbors, families and friends, are struggling to survive,” Curran said. “You can help throw them a lifeline just by doing your holiday shopping at the mom and pop shops in your community – rather than online or at big box retailers.”

The event is in partnership with the Nassau Council Chambers of Commerce and the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.

“The Industrial Development Agency and our sister organization, the Local Economic Assistance Corporation, have worked tirelessly during this pandemic to do what we could to assist small businesses during these challenging times including loans and PPE giveaways,” Nassau Industrial Development Agency Chairman Richard Kessel said. “This is just another effort of support to promote shopping safely and shopping locally to support the brick and mortar businesses that are the fabric of this county.”

Nassau County residents are eligible to participate by printing out the scavenger hunt sheet online at  Participants are required to complete four of the eight daily tasks to qualify for the $100 gift card. Tasks include purchasing a beverage or snack from a local eatery, making a purchase at a local hardware store, buying flowers from a local florist, and getting a car serviced or washed at a local auto shop.

Participants must make all four or more purchases on the same day with pictures of receipts and the participant with a mask on (if not shopping online). Submissions can be made on Facebook by tagging: @NCExecutive, @NassauCouncilofChambersofCommerce, @NassauCountyIDA, and #ShopSafeShopLocal.  If participants do not have Facebook, submissions can be sent to

“We are grateful for the opportunity to recognize our local business owners and chamber members who eagerly await your safe shopping experience,” Julie Marchesella, past president of the Nassau Council of Chambers, said.  “These members support your local organizations and events throughout your communities. Remember ‘Before you click and buy … give shop local a try’! Good luck to all participants.”

According to county officials, the initiative began on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, and will run through Friday. Whichever participant sends in a submission with at least four of the eight tasks verified per contest guidelines first will be declared the winner of that day. Each winner will receive the $100 gift card to shop local as the holiday season continues.  A participant who has won is not eligible to win again.

“I hope residents take advantage of this engaging shopping game and have some fun while supporting and safely exploring local small businesses – you never know the hidden gems you may find,” Curran said.

The announcement of the scavenger hunt follows another initiative Curran proposed two weeks ago that will give nearly 300 restaurants grants up to $10,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Curran said the county’s $2.2 million investment will provide financial assistance to one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic. As winter months quickly approach, Curran said, the program will help full-service restaurants combat colder temperatures and any restrictions set forth by the state as cases continue to increase throughout New York and Nassau.

According to Curran, a restaurant with up to 10 employees is eligible for as much as $5,000 in grant money, and a restaurant with 11 to 50 employees is eligible for the maximum $10,000 grant.  Restaurants that receive the funds must be clear of any violations from the state and local health departments.

Curran said the county Legislature must first approve the program, but provided no immediate timetable for it. Efforts to reach the Legislature for comment were unavailing. Curran said restaurants could begin applying for the grants on Nov. 30 for two weeks before money is awarded starting in January.

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