Small businesses are the very fabric of our local communities. According to Forbes, more people are expected to participate in Small Business Saturday this year, and are choosing to shop local for a variety of reasons to include helping the local economy as a top reason, giving back to the local community as another factor, better customer service, and supporting the American Dream.
For local business owner Greg Kies, ten years of serving the community has paid off and now he’s paying things forward. Owner of Greg’s Auto Sales, located at 770 State Rte. 17C in Owego, Kies has siphoned thousands back into the community through his charitable giving.
On Nov. 16, Kies donated $2,500 to Sister Mary at Tioga County Rural Ministry to assist with the organization’s efforts. Last year, according to Kies, he donated $2,500 to Sister Mary O’Brien and then promised to do it again. He fulfilled that promise Wednesday when he met Sister Mary at TCRM’s pantry on North Avenue to present her with the generous check.
Upon receipt of the donation, Sister Mary humbly smiled, and stated, “We have a lot of need right now; we’ve got high inflation, and the high price of gas. A car repair can set people back.”
With the holiday season upon us, Sister Mary said that they have just shy of 200 signed up for the Thanksgiving Dinner, and are expecting a very busy remainder of 2022.
“The price of everything has gone up,” Sister Mary added, “donations like these make a significant impact on the amount of help we are able to offer.”
For Greg Kies, he feels that the community has supported him, so he wants to pay it back.
Over the years Greg Kies has donated thousands to area organizations like the Tioga County Boys & Girls Club, Owego Little League, Owego Hose Teams, the Owego Police, the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office, and, of course, the donation to TCRM.
“My used car sales have been up since COVID, so I wanted to start giving back,” said Kies, who also donates to the VFW’s annual Christmas Party for kids, adding, “I hate to see the kids go without on Christmas, so I just want to help.”
Sister Mary is grateful for the help as she continues to head into the holiday season and the winter months that are ahead, serving the community. She explained on Wednesday that at TCRM they have to be creative as supply chain issues are leading to some shortages on the Food Bank shelves. She also noted that NYSEG is cautioning that energy costs will be up by about 39% this year on average, for the period November through March.
Fortunately, and especially for non-profits offering heating assistance, HEAP has kicked in with information found at www.ny.gov/services/apply-heating-and-cooling-assistance-heap.
In response to the anticipated need, Sister Mary also stated that they are now serving anyone in the county, and at any time. TCRM is also delivering meals to homeless individuals sent from Chemung County to Tioga County, N.Y., and are being housed here.
“We used to serve only Owego residents three times a month, now we serve everyone in the county. The need is out there,” said Sister Mary as she prepared for a zoom call on Wednesday, and worked to prepare for a busy holiday season this year.
To learn more about TCRM, call (607) 687-3021.
To learn more about Greg’s Auto Sales you can find them online at GregsAuto-Sales.com or call their office at (607) 687-1535; you can also visit them at their State Route 17C location in Owego.