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In the face of the holiday shopping season, Emporia businesses are stepping up to get their share of online spending.

The recently-launched ShopEmporiaFirst.com is designed to give local businesses another venue to market their products and services to local shoppers.

The internet has changed the climate of how dollars are spent, and we are happy to introduce another stream of income for our proud local entrepreneurs. If you want to support the local economy and spark an idea for unique gift-giving, then ShopEmporiaFirst.com is the first step to assist you this holiday season.

Slowly, we have seen the Walmarts and Amazons of the world drive small businesses to close their doors, but we have something special here in Emporia. By not being anchored to a metropolitan city, we are the marketplace center for east central Kansas. Activities like the Glass Blown Open and Dirty Kanza have furthered the life of our downtown, and this is just one more asset we have to show our pride and support for one another.

ShopEmporiaFirst.com currently features 20 businesses eager to take on Amazon this holiday season. With the help of local consumers, we can prove that small-town pride has not gone away. In turn, you may be surprised how the excitement and joy of buying locally can spread throughout your family this year.

Shoppers can browse numerous local businesses all in one online mall. Convenience is what the majority of Amazon shoppers claim is their number one reason for online shopping. This is a very important time of year for local business owners to get their piece of the dollars spent. Now shoppers have another great way to support Emporia from the comfort of their own homes.

In a world where technology imposes itself into our lives, we find smartphones, smart homes and smart kids as part of the engine that drives our lives forward. Information in the form of marketing, social media, and, most critically, shopping, have changed how we interact. But, there is a quaintness and personality that makes us American. The thing that distinguishes us as a community is the fabric of each small business that gives us a sense of pride to be an Emporian.

Besides supporting local businesses by conveniently shopping at home, we can learn of more unique ways to do our holiday shopping.

For example, Prairie & Pearls is loaded with distinctive gift ideas. By browsing ShopEmporiaFirst.com, a curious shopper is introduced to handbags, jewelry, rugs, clothing and home décor. We can now invigorate our ideas for gifts here locally. Instead of heading to the southwest or Texas, we have a Western Boutique right here in Emporia.

This gives local business owners an opportunity to highlight their products locally and for potential shoppers outside of Emporia to bring dollars back to our wonderful town.

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