Merchants encourage spending holiday dollars at home

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi merchants want you to do your holiday shopping close to home. Business owners say the shaky economy makes that annual plea more important than ever.

More than two dozen local merchants are taking part in a pre-holiday sales event in Pass Christian. The five dollar entry fee at the West Harrison Community Center supports the Pass Christian Ladies Auxiliary and gives shoppers a unique opportunity to peruse gift ideas from dozens of local merchants, including jewelry maker Terry Scott.

"Our city needs the tax money. And we love everybody that comes to Pass Christian to shop," says Scott, who's been making jewelry for eleven years.

The annual holiday boutique at the West Harrison Community Center gives nearly three dozen, mostly local artisans and merchants a chance to boost December sales.

Charbonnet Collections sells knick knacks, antiques and custom built furniture. The owner's daughter says keeping those Christmas shopping dollars local is critical this year, especially for a community still recovering from hurricane destruction.

"Well, local shopping actually helps out this whole area so tremendously. And that's something we really need just to build up our strength. So everybody needs to come on by, several little stores out here, and do some Christmas shopping," says Millicent Charbonnet.

The owner of Pass Christian books says small merchants are more than cogs in the local economic engine.

"Local merchants is what gives a community the culture. It's not the big boxes. It's the mom and pops," said Richard Daley.

This holiday shopping event recognizes and appreciates all those mom and pop shops.

Georgia Leyser is with the Pass Christian Ladies Auxiliary.

"And the merchants, they need you right now. With the economy the way it is, we all need it. So please come and see us. We're having a great time," she said.

The holiday shopping boutique continues Thursday from ten until six at the West Harrison Community Center on Espy Avenue.