Website trying to keep local businesses competitive

By Logan Smith - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - When you think Christmas gifts, think South Carolina. That's the message state merchants are trying to get across.

Plenty of people braved Columbia's drizzly weather Thursday morning to buy Christmas gifts at the big chain stores on Garners Ferry Road, but it was a different story on Devine Street. That's where small businesses, like Pack Rats in Five Points, are struggling for every customer they can get. "Advertising is a big struggle," says Pack Rats owner Rachel Oglesby, "We don't have the huge budget that the bigger stores have, so it's hard for people just to know about us and know we're out there."

It's a similar case across the Midlands, even though small business leaders say buying local has a much greater effect on the economy. "If they spend their money on a locally-owned business, their dollar will be three times more effective than if they spend it at a big box store," says President of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, Frank Knapp.

So the entity created a website to help you find local stores where you can buy everything from clothes to power tools. Knapp says he spoke with someone Thursday morning who was looking for a heating and air conditioning company. "They went through our Buy SC website, found a locally owned company, and within an hour, they were out there fixing their problem," says Knapp.

Small business owners say discounts and other perks on the website help them hold their own against the big box stores. "We're still new and kind of off to the side, so just getting our name out there, getting a little recognition," says Oglesby.

It's all part of a push to get you to move your money from the global market to the local market.

If you're interested in exploring the website, click here.

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