Residents urged to shop local for holidays

Published 9:27 am Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday shopping was officially thrust into full swing Friday as merchants across the country held Black Friday sales events.

Locally, several merchants opened early and offered a variety of items at discounted prices in hopes if bringing in customers.

Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Vickery said customers throughout the area need to consider shopping at home as their first choice.

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“Our merchants are what keeps the wheels of commerce turning in our city,” Vickery said. “There may be some things that are hard to find, but we need to give our local merchants a chance to meet our needs.”

The Atmore area doesn’t have any big-box stores such as Walmart, but Vickery said local retailers have more than can be offered by larger retail stores.

“I have been in big stores where I wasn’t even acknowledge as being there,” Vickery said. “Here in Atmore, you can go into a shop and they know you by name. That kind of connection with local merchants is something you won’t find any where else.”

Vickery said many merchants in Atmore are certainly willing to do what they can to help you get whatever it is you might be looking for as gifts or for personal use.

“We have great customer service right here at home with our merchants,” Vickery said. “I can almost guarantee that if there were a particular item I needed but couldn’t find here, I could ask a merchant and they would be doing everyting they could to help me get what I need.”

Customers throughout Atmore have an opportunity to help their neighbors who own businesses in the community, Vickery said.

“We have to do what we can to help them out,” Vickery said. “The economy is not at its best right now and these merchants are struggling, too. Anytime we shop and make purchases in their stores we are helping our friends and our neighbors survive these hard times, too.”

The City of Atmore provides a variety of services to the community including police and fire protection. Those services are paid for through tax dollars generated through sales throughout the city.

“We need our merchants, and in turn, they need us,” Vickery said. “I hope that local residents will give local retailers a chance this holiday season and try Atmore first.”

Customers wait to check out at Fred’s on Black Friday. Residents have been encouraged to shop locally to support local businesses this holiday season.|Photo by Sandi Boone