East Meadow officials see shopping obstacles, but remain optimistic The East Meadow Florist has been in business since 1961, and Chris Hackert became its owner in 1996. Despite downsizing to a one-man operation two years ago, Hackert said he has a dedicated customer base, which shops for poinsettias and seasonal centerpieces for Christmas and Hanukkah. Roughly 189.6 million U.S. consumers shopped from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday this year, an increase of 14 percent over last year’s 165.8 million, according to the National Retail Federation. A federation survey also revealed a 16 percent jump in the amount of money spent in that time period, with shoppers spending an average of $361.90 this year, up from $313.29 in 2018. Black Friday drew 84.2 million shoppers, and was the busiest day for in-store holiday shopping, with Small Business Saturday drawing 59.9 million. Of the latter number, 73 percent said they were specifically shopping at small businesses. Small Business Saturday is growing in popularity, despite the convenience offered by online retailers, according to an annual survey conducted by the National Retail Federation. The survey revealed that 59.9 million shoppers were in stores on Nov. 30, compared with last year’s 58.2 million. For many merchants in East Meadow, however, it was business as usual. The community faces obstacles as it competes with online retailers during the holiday season. Chris Hackert, the owner of East Meadow Florist, sees most of his holiday business two weeks or so after Thanksgiving weekend. “I always find people get flowers much closer to Christmas week itself,” he said. “I don’t really promote Small Business Saturday for that reason.” Business usually picks up around Dec. 18, Hackert said, and customers come in looking for poinsettias and centerpieces to give as gifts. Al Anselmo opened East Meadow Florist on Hempstead Turnpike […]