The people who own businesses in Mount Airy are your friends. Your neighbors. Your church family. And they need your support.
That is the message being delivered on Wednesday as the promotions committee of Mount Airy Downtown Inc., and the Mount Airy Downtown Business Association met to deliver materials promoting Small Business Saturday, an event they hope will spread the word about the benefits of shopping locally.
And while the event is geared toward Black Friday, Mount Airy Main Street Coordinator Lizzie Morrison said the benefits of shopping locally extend far beyond a single day.
“This is really a part of a shop small campaign that we’re trying to extend throughout the year,” she said. “We want to spread the word about how shopping locally can benefit the community as a whole.”
Morrison said mid-November is the perfect time to spread the word.
“This is important because we’re on the edge of the holiday shopping season and I think it’s important to promote local support of small businesses,” she said. “We also want to spread the word about all the great things available on Main Street. Pretty much everything you can get in a mall you can get in downtown Mount Airy.”
And, she added, shoppers get the added benefit of shopping in a beautiful, historic district.
“You can shop for your holiday purchases while experiencing the downtown experience over the holidays,” she said. “Downtown Mount Airy is a place for families to come and shop. A place to support local merchants.
“The people owning these businesses you go to church with. You interact with them on a daily basis. They’re part of our community.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Dock Merritt, owner of Mount Airy Cyclery.
“(Shopping locally) supports the whole town,” he said. “If money goes back into a town, it stays here and helps the local economy. If you go to Winston-Salem to shop, that money is gone. It’s in Winston-Salem.”
Merritt said the issue is also about relationships.
“If you buy locally, you develop a personal relationship between the business and customer. They know your name and who you are,” he added. “If you order online, no one knows who you are.”
Participating businesses will also be donating items that will be put in a gift basket, and customers making purchases during the promotion will be entered into a drawing for one of two gift baskets being raffled.
“The more a customer shops downtown, the more chances they have to win,” said Jessica Johnson, assistant marketing director for the Mount Airy Visitor’s Center. “It’s just another incentive to shop locally.”
For Merritt, however, the issue is about economics.
“If you don’t shop locally, you’ll end up not having anywhere to shop,” he said.