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To help make local online shopping easy, The Emporia Gazette has launched a new website called ShopEmporiaFirst.com.

The goal of the website is to make it easy for people to buy products online from local merchants.

“We have seen a dramatic rise in online shopping sites stealing retail dollars from local merchants, and that concerns us.” Chris Walker, Editor and Publisher of The Emporia Gazette, said. “We wanted to make a central online shopping site that makes it easy for people to see items available at local merchants and be able to purchase them easily.”

While e-commerce sales continue to grow, many local merchants have had a hard time capturing those online sales. Most online sales are going to the national shopping sites like Amazon, and not local merchants.

“Locally, merchants have struggled with shopping carts or even just driving traffic to their sites,” Walker said. “ShopEmporiaFirst.com worked to solve some of those two key problems for merchants.”

ShopEmporiaFirst.com has a “Gifts” page that lists items available from area businesses. Those items can be purchased through the website or customers can go to the local merchants’ website to learn more.

“Bringing lots of merchants to one site makes it easy and fast to see what is available locally,” Walker said. “It is our hope that before people jump onto Amazon to shop, they will either visit local merchants or look here for local items available.

“We realize that for a community to remain vibrant it needs local stores and merchants. By local merchants banning together to make local online shopping easy, it will grow retail sales and online sales for local merchants in our communities.”

During the holiday season, more products will continue to be added to the website.

Cory Bosiljevac is the manager of the site, and if local businesses have questions or would like to list products, call or email him at 342-4803 or cory@emporia.com.

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