Saturday should be one of the busiest days of the holiday shopping bonanza, so why not shop at locally owned stores?

It’s the question Locally Owned Tallahassee is asking the community, as the group has designated Dec.15 “Buy Local Day.” It’s designed to encourage area residents to pay attention to where they are shopping and whether those outlets benefit the community.

“There are some very good socially conscious businesses,” said Zan Bielec, vice president of Locally Owned Tallahassee, noting Publix and Target as examples. “I am not anti-corporate at all. I’m just suggesting keeping local business in mind.”

Bielec and Guy Moore are two of more than 100 business owners who comprise Locally Owned Tallahassee.

Moore is the owner of Garnet & Gold, an emporium of Florida State University merchandise and one of the original tenants of Governor’s Square mall. It’s assumed by Moore, and Governor’s Square general manager Eric Litz, that Garnet & Gold is the only locally owned business in the mall.

“Of course I think it’s critical,” Moore said. “If we don’t tend to our locally owned merchants, there won’t be any… I think it’s real important because local merchants are the engine that keeps commerce busy in Tallahassee. If we don’t support them – even though it may be a little more – I think it’s important to the community. Otherwise, we’ll all be one cookie-cutter community.”

Last year Stacy Mitchell penned Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America’s Independent Businesses. The book details the struggle independent retailers face in competing with multi-national corporations.

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