Shopping local has big impacts

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VENICE, Fla. - More and more shoppers seem to be spending in mom and pop shops. For a few Suncoast businesses we found it's turning out to be a very merry holiday shopping season.

Venice Stationers has been open along Venice Avenue since 1954. Owner Rosanne Brown says 2012 has been a good one. "We really did have a good November and good December. Probably our best ever."

What's helping she says is a push to shop and support your neighbors. "People are recognizing that importance because it means jobs. If you buy American you are supporting American jobs. If you are supporting your local merchants down here you are supporting local jobs and the local tax base. It makes a lot of sense."

Downtown Venice only has handful of franchise type shops out of more than 100.

Jeff O'Berry at Nifty Nic Nacs says the uniqueness is bringing in the people. "If people come here to shop they are probably going to other shops as well. It kind of spreads the wealth."

That can also be good for the rest of us. The National Retail Federation says sales are expected to be up about 4% this year from last and that every dollar spent at a locally owned store around 77 cents goes back into the local community. That's compared to around 43 cents at a national chain. "It just kind of goes round and round in town," says O'Berry.

Shoppers Frank Maglio and son Matthew are getting some last minute gifts here instead of at a bigger national store. "I would rather support the local businesses actually."

Maglio says it also has other benefits. "It is crowded but there is good parking. I know all the secret spots to park. No door dings. No fuss no muss."

Purchasing power in your own back yard. A gift many like Brown hope keeps on giving. "If you do want to maintain small business shops and the kind of community we have down here then obviously we need support and to get it 12 months out of the year. I think people are recognizing that."

The impacts are not expected to stop on Christmas eve. Two of the top ten shopping days are the day after Christmas and this coming Saturday.

Recent studies also show locally owned businesses contribute nearly three times as much money to local not for profit organizations as national chains do.