TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – Staff at Hazel Hill Chocolate describe the holiday shopping season as one of the best times to be a local business.
“We do a lot of personalized gifting so customers will come in with an idea and we’ll make that happen so we put packages together that are designed for specific customers,” said Manager Yolanda Corona.
Corona said being part of a local business creates a bond with the community.
“It’s about making personal connections and not just selling product,” she said.
“I think it kinda shows what local shops are for they’re for the people and not just for the sales.”
It’s a connection Topeka business leaders hope shoppers will want to make as they search for the perfect holiday gifts.
“All of these businesses are entrepreneurs and in so doing they’ve chosen to provide our community with a product or service and if they’re successful it provides the community with more options, more choices,” Downtown Topeka, Inc. President Vince Frye said.
“This is our community and these are our friends and neighbors that own these businesses, so you’re supporting them; these people they pay sales taxes, they own property, they pay property taxes and that money multiplies throughout the community.”
Frye said Topeka’s local businesses give the city a distinct charm.
“What makes the community what it is a uniqueness that you can’t find some of these stores any place else, so our businesses provide us choices and options that we wouldn’t have if they weren’t here in Topeka.”
“There’s so many different options that provides you with an experience in shopping with that business owner that you couldn’t get if you were shopping online.”
He said the pandemic has highlighted the importance of shopping small.
“This is a time of year when many of them make their profit or not so it’s very important that this is the time of the year where you show your support for small businesses,” he said.
“We’re supporting our community those businesses create jobs and certainly we all realize the importance of a job this time of year and for many people in the business the holiday season is the period of time where they’re either profitable or not for the entire year.”
Greater Topeka Partnership President and CEO, Matt Pivarnik said there is enthusiasm to support local businesses and those businesses are eager to provide shoppers with a safe experience during the pandemic.
“I believe that our citizens are probably more sincere and diligent about buying local than I’ve ever seen them before,”
“Our businesses are smart; they’re smart and they’re adapting and they adapted so much since the spring and they’re doing everything within their power to keep you safe.”
He said shopping at local businesses keeps the local economy healthy.
“What you’re really doing is that you’re helping our economy and when you’re helping our economy you’re helping every single citizen keep their job and create economic prosperity in every corner of this community,” he said.
“You’re actually showing more care and love to the person you’re buying a gift for if you put that effort into it and if you go out there and purchase local.”
Corona said this is the chance to support a business owner’s goals.
“See it as that supporting your neighbors and your friends,” she said.
“We all have dreams and I guess local businesses have that dream of opening up that shop and by shopping local you’re supporting their dreams, their dreams are becoming reality and it gives encouragement to other people to do what they want to do, go for it, we’re here to support each other.”
Business leaders recognize people are facing hardships because of the pandemic.
Other ways to support can range from recommending one to a friend of by leaving a positive review online.
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