Businesses kick-off "Shop Richmond" campaign

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Local businesses want you to "Shop Richmond." Owners put together a campaign to encourage shoppers to spend their money in locally owned stores. It kicks off this weekend.

Those businesses said you'll see almost every dollar you spend in a locally owned store back in your community. The problem is that in tough economic times, those shops are feeling the pinch more than anyone.

Business hasn't exactly been booming at Azalea Aquariums.

"We're waiting on half the number of paying customers that we usually do and the sales are smaller," said owner Keith Howe.

Like the owners of many local stores, Howe has noticed a trend in the last year.

"It seems like customers would rather go off to the big box stores and buy online rather than support their local merchant," he said.

This weekend's "Shop Richmond" event is designed for stores like Howe's shop.

Terrell Pollard with Shop RVA said the goal is to raise awareness that the goods you buy at those chain stores are available at shops owned by your neighbors. He wants buyers to know most of the time, the prices are comparable and the profits stay here.

"When you shop local, those business owners are from Richmond or have moved to Richmond because they love the city," he said. "So, they will do more for the city. When it comes to hiring or development they think about Richmond first."

Around 60 businesses will be placing signs in their windows and will offer discounts starting this weekend. In return, they're asking you to exclusively "Shop Richmond."

"With any hope, this advertising campaign will help but I just keep plugging along," said Howe.  "I intend to be here another 20 years."

The event kicks off Saturday at 323 West Broad Street, where vendors will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you can't make it out but still want to know what shops are participating, click here.

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