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North Alabama communities ask shoppers to think, shop local this holiday season

“It’s great to see the old faces that keep coming back every year and the new people,” said Cory Bennett, co-owner of Bennett’s.

Posted: Nov 23, 2021 5:14 PM
Updated: Nov 23, 2021 6:01 PM

Communities in North Alabama are encouraging shoppers to shop small this year as many business owners work to bounce back from the pandemic.

In Athens, people are already getting ahead of their holiday shopping. Bennett’s, a local clothing store, has been open for more than 40 years, and the business counts on its local and new customers. 

“It’s great to see the old faces that keep coming back every year and the new people,” said Cory Bennett, co-owner of Bennett’s.

Shopping local means a lot to small business owners, but to shoppers, it also brings them a sense of joy, helping not just a store but the family behind it.

“We chatted with the owner very briefly when we were in there, and he seemed like a great guy, and we just really love supporting local Athens,” said Michael Mingus, a holiday shopper.

Mingus lives in Maryland but grew up in Limestone County. He's spending time at home for the holidays and enjoying local shopping with his wife. 

“We love doing it back in Maryland and going to all the local craft fairs and merchants, so doing it here, in my hometown, has been great,” said Mingus.

On Friday, leaders in Morgan County are starting a promotion to increase the foot traffic of holiday shoppers.

“When you start your holiday shopping and you spend a minimum of $20 with any Decatur-Morgan County retailer or restaurant, all you need to do is put your name and number on the back of the receipt,” said Crystal Brown, president of Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce. “We'll have a dropbox at the back of the Chamber. You drop it off, and we will have a drawing for 15 $100 gift cards.”

Those gift cards will be from two businesses partnered with the Chamber, putting money back into the support of local merchants.

"We want them to be here. We want them to stay here,” said Brown. “What would Decatur-Morgan or any local community look like without our local merchants here?”

Limestone County and Morgan County are small business hubs that count on new and annual customers. Buying a gift locally is really a gift that keeps on giving.

“We love to bring back to our community and build our town because it is booming,” said David Bennett, co-owner of Bennett’s.

Certain shops throughout downtown Athens and Decatur will have sales and deals all weekend long.

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