Extra Cheer for Bay County Retailers

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Florida retailers can expect a little extra cheer this holiday shopping season.
Here in Bay County, many shoppers are trying to buy local.
Small business owners are putting out mats that say “Welcome to Small Business Saturday,” letting shoppers know the business is local and inviting them on in.
Ronnie Groom's C&G Sporting Goods store in downtown Panama City is especially busy this week.
"We're much more specialized and we know exactly what sportsmen use in this area,” said Groom. “Some of the big chains, they buy stuff that may be good in Buffalo, NY, but not good in Bay County."
The Bay County Chamber of Commerce is hoping people shop locally this season, helping small business owners like Groom and keep the tax dollars local.
"We're just expecting a really great turnout this year for Black Friday shopping and holiday shopping in general,” said Brittany Cole, the vice president of communications for the Bay County Chamber of Commerce. “We just want to encourage everyone to buy local. Keep your tax dollars in Bay County So they work for you."
Florida is expecting an overall sales increase of more than 5% from last year.
Retailers have brought in more than 42,000 seasonal workers and experts say close to 400 have been added in Bay County.
Cole added that despite the fiscal cliff she believes shoppers in Bay County will be doing some big spending this season.
"I think people really are looking towards the bright side and want to get out there and spend some money,” said Cole. “Buy some things for their loved ones and just stimulate the local economy. More tax dollars, the better services they can offer."
Helping out the local economy while you shop, along with your neighbors.
"If you have a problem, we're here and we'll take care of you. We need to keep the money in panama city," Groom said.
The holiday shopping season is projected to bring close to $58 billion into the Florida economy, that is up from $55 billion last year.

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