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Village of Nyack Awards Seven Businesses $35,000 in Nyack Tourism Grants To Promote Village

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Secondhand Shop Hop, A Nyack Thrifting Tour, Wins $4,500 For 2024’s Four Tours

By Tina Traster

Last year, Laura Graham, who owns the second-hand clothing store Lemmonade on South Broadway in Nyack, led two “Thrifting Tours Through Nyack,” jumping on a national fever for thrift, down-cycled, second-hand, environmentally sustainable fashion and home furnishings. For 2024, four tours that include seven Nyack-based locations, has been renamed “Secondhand Shop Hop.” The first tour is scheduled for April 27.

The thrifting tour organizer, is one of seven Nyack-based businesses to be awarded monies from the first round of Nyack Tourism Grants, which are derived from a hotel tax implemented in 2023. The Village anticipates two rounds of grants for 2024.

Lemmonade received $4,500 out of a total $35,000 last month, which must be used to promote and market activities that draw tourists. The other recipients include Edward Hopper House, “Intimate Impressions: Nyack Plein Air Festival” ($5,000), Nyack International Film Festival ($7,000), Rockland Fashion Week ($6,000), Maureen’s Jazz Cellar Dancing on the Streets ($2,500), Black Parakeetz “Arts, Carafes & Cocktails Festival” ($2,500), Joe G. Food Tours ($5,000).

Visit Nyack, a nonprofit group that promotes the Village, is administering the grant program. Grant awards range from $1,000 to $7,500.

“We took a walk around the village last January and thought we should collaborate,” said Graham. “It made sense to make Nyack a thrifting destination because there are seven of us. A walking event promotes community.”

Graham’s hunch paid off. In 2023, nearly 140 “thrifties” joined tours in October and November. Tour members are given a Tour Pass Map at Main Street Beat to visit seven locations: Second Chance, Trilogy, Honor & Blume, Grace Thrift, Rose Lighting, Main Street Beat, and Lemmonade. Tour participants were eligible to win a $200 raffle; they had to bring their maps back with proof of having stopped at each tour location and fill out a survey.

Graham says 52 or 65 percent of visitors on the October tour completed the circuit, while 30 or 50 percent on the November tour finished. The group’s research shows half of all shoppers spent more than $100 on the day of the tour.

Thrifting is especially popular among Gen Z, who are tuned into the environmental impacts of fast fashion. Some 62 percent of Gen Z and Millennials say they look for an item secondhand before they buy a new version of it, according to the 2022 annual industry report from secondhand marketplace ThredUP. The top three reasons Gen Z are buying used clothing is to save money, to be more sustainable, and to have more fun shopping, the report said. The market for secondhand goods in the United States is expected to more than double to $82 billion by 2026, from $35 billion in 2021, according to the report.

Thrifting took off as a hot fashion trend during the pandemic thanks to TikTok. Thrifting hauls have become so popular on the app evidenced by a subculture coined “ThriftTok.”

Beginning January 2023, hotel guests staying in the Village of Nyack pay an additional 3 percent room occupancy tax, based on a law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. The 3 percent tax is added to other taxes including a 3 percent county tax that has been in place since 2012.

The grants to entities and nonprofits that help promote tourism, plus an 8% administration fee to Visit Nyack, can add up to 50% of the tax revenue. The remaining funds go to the Village’s general revenue fund.

In its budget for 2023-2024 (fiscal year end May 31, 2024) Nyack anticipated hotel tax revenues of $120,000. According to the Village Clerk-Treasurer, the Village collected $230,000 in 2023, far in excess of its expectations.

In 2023, the Village Board of Trustees allocated $26,850 to Visit Nyack (for distribution) in 2023 and another $35,000 so far in 2024.

Nyack has two hotels and one motel, which adds up to 253 rooms. The tax does not apply to Air BNBs. Nyack officials say Hotel Nyack managers approached the Village with the concept of adding a tax that could be rolled into tourism grants. The Village passed the law last fall.

Rough estimates indicate that the Village could rake in between $50,000 and $100,000 in tax collection for the next budget cycle, which begins in June. The calculations are based on room rates and on 50- to 60 percent occupancy rates in the Hudson Valley. Rates range from $99 per night at the Super 8 By Wyndham and $90 per night at the West Gate Inn to $150 per night at Hotel Nyack, a Hyatt property.

Rockland County passed the 3 percent Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax local law in 2012. The county brought in $1.4 million in 2019, $704,096 in 2020 (at the height of the pandemic), and $1.2 million in 2021. The County budgeted revenue from its hotel/motel occupancy tax of $1.4 million for 2024.

In December, the Town of Clarkstown voted unanimously to move ahead with the steps needed to impose a hotel/motel tax. The town voted to make a request to both Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Senator Bill Weber to sponsor legislation, which is needed to levy such a tax. The legislation calls for a 4 percent room tax on hotels and motels, though it does not specify whether the tax will be used to support tourism to the town or whether the money would be used to plug unfilled budget gaps.