Shopping Local

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When it comes to major shopping, many Jackson County locals leave town, and that doesn't sit too well with Marianna merchants. Those business owners are hoping to change the trend this Christmas.

It's Christmastime in the city and local economic leaders in Marianna say their city is not a bad place to shop.

Chuck Sims with the JC Chamber of Commerce says, “Panama City, Tallahassee and Dothan seem to be milking our local consumer dollars away from us. We're trying to make every effort we can to welcome those locals to stay home, shop locally, shop Jackson County."

A city's downtown reflects the character of the local community.

Family owned stores like Watson's Jewelers periodically revamp and renovate. They say a variety of items and a friendly atmosphere have helped keep them in business over the years.

Philip Watson of Watson’s Jewelers says, "We're a small-town store. We know all of our clients, and if we don't know them all my staff becomes friends very easily."

Watson says he knows people leave Marianna to shop, but he says there's no place like home.

"I think after they get worn out from the crowds they often times come back here and find exactly what they are looking for."

Some merchants say they have local support, but could always use more.

Amanda West with Jema Boutique says, "I think that taking care of the community is really good, and everybody here comes to support the stores and local businesses.”

It may not be the mall in the bigger cities, but downtown Marianna boosters say they have variety that they hope continues to grow.

"As we begin to see more retail stores open up in downtown, that will create some synergy, and we should have a variety of retail shops to fit everybody's needs before too long."

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce plans events in downtown Marianna every quarter. Retailers usually extend their hours to catch the eye of window shoppers.