Consumer Wise: The benefits of shopping local for Christmas

By Angie Moreschi, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 6:07 AM EST

In the search for Christmas gifts this year, many people are making a point of shopping local.  

  • Support small businesses by shopping local for Christmas this year
  • Hyde Park Village and Plant Street offer quaint shops and restaurants

Hyde Park Village in Tampa and Plant Street in Winter Garden are two destinations that offer a wide array of quaint shops and restaurants.  

"When you shop locally in a community like this, you get a sense of place, and a sense of belonging to the community which is a really nice feeling to have,” said Lori Gibson, Co-owner of Boutique on Plant in Winter Garden.

Frequent shoppers say these districts offer a great way to not only find gifts, but also support your local community.

“It’s charming. It’s delightful. It has ambiance. Kind of nostalgic, too,” said Winter Garden shoppers Sally and John.

Melissa Martin and her daughter enjoy visiting Hyde Park often. They live close by and want to see the district thrive.

“I think this is a great area. I want to see it continue to grow,” Martin said. “It’s brought a lot to the community, so you have to support it.”

In addition to ambiance, shops like Boutique on Plant offer unique gifts you can’t find at big names stores. 

“We try to carry things that are not found in major retailers, and I like to carry things that are boutique line that you wouldn’t find at the mall,” Gibson said.

She also says stores with local owners often provide more personalized service, to make a special connection with customers, so they come back. 

“That personal touch of actually knowing your customer,” Gibson explained. “We know a lot of our customers. We’ve seen them before. We’re on the look-out for things when they come in. We say, ‘So and so will really like this. Call her.’” 

The extra attention is nice, and for many, avoiding the crowds at the mall is an added bonus. 

“We prefer to be outdoors and just the atmosphere is wonderful,” said Winter Garden shoppers Sally and John.

Not a bad change from all the hustle and bustle. You get your shopping done and are able to slow down a little -- to enjoy the ambiance and support your community.  

Click here for more information about the shops at Winter Garden Village.

Click here for more information about Hyde Park Village.