PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB)–While many people take to big businesses to take care of all their holiday shopping needs, we can’t forget about our local stores. Each year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is dedicated to ‘Small Business Saturday’. An opportunity to shop while supporting our local economy. And Panama City did not sit this one out.
Downtown Panama City was bustling with people all day Saturday. Residents going in and out of stores, all in an effort to support small businesses.
“It’s easy to just get online and click a button to have something delivered right to your door but it’s not the same experience as going in somewhere. My blood, swea,t and tears are in this business,” said Liane Harding, the owner of Main Street Antique on Harrison.
Harding is not alone. Many store owners in downtown Panama City say having the holiday is crucial. Without the support of locals, their businesses would not exist.
“In small business\es you’ve got that personalized service, you’ve got the relationship with your customers that they enjoy coming back because they know that you’ve got what they need and they enjoy shopping local,” said Shanna Campbell, the owner of Accents Home Decor & Gifts.
‘Small Business Saturday’ isn’t just about getting discounted goods, its purpose goes much further.
“We’re not the big box corporation, you know we’re raising a family. Everyone that comes and supports us is supporting my little girl take ballet class or a little boy doing soccer,” said Jessica Kent, the owner of Gulf Coast Aquarium.
Many shoppers feel a close connection to their local businesses. Some say they avoid shopping at big businesses completely.
“Big businesses have a mark up, they’re in it for the profit. These people are in it because they’re a part of the community. They want to make a difference in where they live,” said Fern Albritton, a local shopper.
While ‘Small Business Saturday’ may be coming to a close, it’s never a bad time to go out and shop locally. And with christmas just a few weeks away, finish up your shopping at small stores.