Local Christmas Shopping On the Rise

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all behind us now, but are retailers seeing the big boost in sales the experts have predicted?

Panama City business owners are hoping to hear more doors opening and more cash registers ringing this holiday season.

For some, things have been going well."They've been great," said Stephanie Carnley, owner of Sugar Boogers in downtown Panama City, "We've had a lot of orders, a lot of people, traffic coming in and out. Shop Local was really great, we had a good flow on Saturday and I'm looking forward to a great holiday season."

Officials with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce agree. "When I went out on Friday the day after Thanksgiving and I went shopping locally, there were people everywhere," said Vice President of Communications, Brittany Cole, "I talked to a lot of the sales associates and they said that people are really out there spending money for the holidays this year."

But not all businesses are seeing a constant holiday rush.

"It's kinda both," said Sugar Britches owner Shanni Smith. "It's good some days and then it's really slow some days."

Both business owners agree that this year will be better than last year.

"I think it's going to be better. I think people are ready for the season, they're ready to have goodies and special events happening, it's gonna be fantastic," said Carnley.

"I think a lot of people are going to realize that maybe they can't get all new stuff," said Smith, "maybe some previously loved stuff will be good too."

Both businesses hope more residents will check out local stores instead of turning to chains and the Internet.

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