SPOKANE, Wash. - As consumer spending reaches record levels, Spokane businesses are getting creative to come up with ways to convince patrons that it's better to shop local. Creative events, philanthropy opportunities, and social media have helped both Auntie's Bookstore and Kizuri reach customers.
On Saturday, Santa Claus wandered through the store, greeting patrons and spending time with excited children. Outreach Coordinator Linda Bond said the store does a lot of things throughout the year for customers, including readings, author meet-and-greets, and other special events. She believes that helps get people through the doors, but said it's the experience of shopping at Auntie's that keeps them coming back.
"We get visitors from all around the country, other countries, and they love to come in because it has what they say is such an ambiance," Bond said.
A few blocks down the street from Auntie's, customers enjoyed a unique shopping experience at Kizuri. The Spokane shop features products that are Fair Trade, earth friendly, and local. Store owner Kim Harmson said she relies on customers telling their friends about her store, but also utilizes social media to connect with customers.
Harmson said it can be challenging to compete with online giants, but she thinks small businesses can compete.
"I think at this time, this political climate, people are really looking for connections and they're really looking for relationships and that's what you find when you shop local," Harmson said.