By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 5, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- As the Christmas holiday approaches many residents are in search of the perfect gift for loved ones.
But, as they head out, some community members are urging them to take their business local.
Shop Local 850, the City of Tallahassee and Leon County are urging residents to shop the local market this weekend, sponsoring a "Shop Local Holiday Weekend." The event is slated for Friday through Sunday.
"The idea is to go out to your favorite shops, find new shops and participate in neighborhood activities. And go find gifts at local businesses so it supports your neighbor down the street. It's a gift to the community when you shop local," said Joe Berg, with Shop Local 850.
"I think everyone's heard how it helps keep money in the community. I often like to think of my shop, and local shops, a being the Andy Griffin thing. People come, you know who they are. They know who you are," said Joe Mezzina, owner of Joe's Bike Shop.
Mezzina has owned and operated the shop at Lake Ella for about 30 years. He said it's more than just keeping local dollars local.
"(It's a) hometown thing. Local businesses are hometown. They're the people who have lived here a long time and have started businesses and raised families," he said.
For Jesse Edmunds, the owner of Liberty Bar and Restaurant, the support of the community is what can make or break a small business.
"At the end of the day, if we don't have people coming in consistently
it's very difficult to stay afloat," said Edmunds.
In exchange for support, the shops offer the community something different; an identity.
"Identity is created through the local businesses. it's a reflection of the people that have planted their flag, made this their home and are trying to make this a better place," said Edmund.
More than 20 local neighborhood associations and business organizations are are planning to participate this weekend including
the Midtown Merchants Association and Myers Park Neighborhood Association. For more information, visit www.shoplocal850.com