Holiday Shopping in Rural Taylor County

You could drive to Tallahassee and brave the crowds, but Taylor County residents say thanks, but no thanks.

Just by looking at downtown Perry, you wouldn't know it's the busiest shopping time of the year. When you live in a town without a mall, shopping crowds can be scarce, but don't let the deserted sidewalks fool you.

Dean Faulkenberry, manager of a family owned store, says, "Business has been fantastic. It's been really, really good. We're up substantially this December versus last December so far, and looks like we're going to continue right through New Year’s."

Catherine Howell, a downtown shopper, says, "This store has been here a long time and I like to shop here because I can walk in, pick up what I want and leave."

Store owners say they compete with bigger cities with shopping malls, but many local shoppers say they prefer to spend money in their own community.

Vicki Hatton, a shopper and store owner, says, "There's not everything that somebody wants here in Perry, they're certain things that you can't buy here. We try to buy from local businesses; we have a local business, so we try to do all of our shopping that we possibly can in Perry."

So though there isn't a huge mall or fancy stores, proud residents of small-town Perry seem to prefer it no other way.

Historically, smaller stores are wiped out by the business of shopping malls in nearby larger cities, but merchants in Perry say they are optimistic.