The Stone County Economic Development Partnership is once again encouraging residents to Shop Local this holiday season. Yes, Halloween is over the candy has been consumed and now we’re seeing Season’s Greetings in every corner of our world. Many have already started shopping for the gift-giving days ahead. Some are finished, their treasures all wrapped and tucked away nicely, those individuals enjoy the frantic looks on the faces of last-minute shoppers. Some of us will wait for the rush just to get the best bargains and honestly, to enjoy the frenzy. Whatever your shopping preferences, I hope you’ll spend a bit of time shopping the merchants of Wiggins and Stone County.

Consumers have long realized the value small businesses bring to their communities and the local economy. Our Shop Small campaign is a way to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without—consumers are “shopping small” to support their local economy.

We have an excellent selection of locally owned businesses in our area and those store owners impact the community far beyond their shop hours. Next time you are at local event, take a look at the volunteers. Want to know who is helping raise money for the next best school project, indeed the local business owner. Helping the youth groups at church, you guessed it; local business people. Let’s do our part this holiday season and keep our shopping local. Support the small business owners that support our community.

When consumers are asked the primary reason for shopping at a small business, they largely cited the familiarity at the top of their list. It’s great to shop where you’re recognized, we get that here. Great customer service is next, it’s easy to shop where employees are friendly and greet you by name. The theme for our Shop Local initiative is Built to Last. You’ll meet some of our newest faces and long-lasting business owners during the month of November.

Plan your shopping, practice safe distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands! Most of all, remember by spending some of your money locally you’ll be helping the community.

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