Main Street Oneonta has publicized five reasons to support downtown businesses, especially on "Small Business Saturday" this week.

The promotion comes just after the post-Thanksgiving traditional mega-shopping day _ Black Friday. And in recent years, Main Street retailers have been competing with online marketing, which also has a designated day _ "Cyber Monday."

American Express is promoting the first-ever Small Business Saturday this Saturday and is using Facebook to publicize its effort.

In Oneonta, MSO, an organization of businesses and individuals working to promote downtown, said the five reasons to "shop local" are that buying from local businesses 1) creates jobs, 2) fosters community, 3) keeps the dream alive, 4) boosts the local economy and 5) creates a ripple effect in society.

A small business is someone's dream, the newsletter said, and being an entrepreneur is a risky enterprise that usually happens when someone's passion is "so overpowering they cannot help but start their own business," and by supporting small business, consumers are allowing someone to live the dream another day.

"One successful small business begets others. New entrepreneurs create more entrepreneurs. Enthusiasm breeds imitation. Suddenly, that blighted block downtown is bustling with energy," MSO said. "And it all starts, literally, when you choose to spend some money at a local small business."

Savor New York, which has a flagship store at 171 Main St. in Cooperstown, announced it is promoting Small Business Saturday with a 10 percent discount, building on its business marketing New York products.

Studio in Oneonta moves, aims for diverse programs

Oneonta Taekwon-Do has moved from 12 S. Main St. to a larger space at 55 S. Main St. as part of an expansion in services, owner Ray Mannion said.

Oneonta Taekwon-Do offers self-defense classes for adults and children age 6 and older. Mannion said he is expanding the business to accommodate more students per class and to offer more diverse programs, including belly dancing, yoga, tai chi and more.

Mannion said he is the sole employee. He seeks instructors, who operate independently, in yoga, Zumba, Pilates and other methods. For more information, call Mannion at 437-7866.

Local contractor promotes alternative energy, earns certification

Robert Hassman, owner of CNR Solar, recently passed the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners examination for solar thermal installation, a media release said.

Hassman becomes one of six individuals in the state and the only installer in central New York, the release from his firm said.

Hassman, who has lived in Cooperstown since 2001, has been involved in the solar energy field since teaching as a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, where he earned both his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees.

CNR Solar, started in 2008, specializes in solar thermal applications including hot water, space heating and pool heating. Other services offered include photovoltaic solar electric, wind power, hydroelectric and geothermal heating and cooling.

"I'm looking forward to helping more home and business owners in the area save money on rising fuel and energy costs, while protecting the environment at the same time," Hassman said in the release.

NABCEP is the national certification organization designed to raise industry standards and promote consumer confidence in the field of renewable energy. The association projects its certification numbers to grow in the next two years because of the launch of solar thermal incentive programs, its website said.

CNR Solar offers free site evaluations to home and business owners interested alternative energy solutions. For more information, call 287-3780 or send an e-mail to info@cnrsolar.com.

To suggest a business story, announce a new business or changes to an existing one, e-mail details to drichardson@thedailystar.com or call Denise Richardson at 432-1000 or (800) 721-1000, ext. 213.

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