NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Hampshire County businesses will officially kick off the holiday shopping season Saturday.
And many local business owners are fighting for hometown advantage, following a grassroots effort that's gained traction across the country.
It is now trying to make an impact in the Pioneer Valley. One of those business owners is Priscilla Finn.
"The toy business isn't really a terrific business. A lot of people sell toy to kids they don't care about your child, they don't care what you do with that, we do," said Finn inside her King Street toy store.
Finn and her husband own A 2 Z Science & Learning Store in Northampton. The small business, which used to be located inside Thornes Marketplace, is the first of its kind for the area, providing more than just your average toy truck.
But with growing access to online shopping and discount prices at big box stores, it's difficult to stay competitive.
"I think that we are all very busy these days and to go on the computer and see a variety of options at your fingertips," said Sarah Rogowski of today's shopping culture.
That's why Finn recently joined dozens of other business owners who are now part of Pioneer Valley Local First, a movement looking to help shift your shopping habits. Turn it Up on Pleasant Street is also on the list.
"We wouldn't be here if it weren't for the customer. You wouldn't have a job. I wouldn't have a job, we wouldn't exist and I think that the whole community would feel at a loss if us and places like this would cease to exist," said Chris Cooper, who for eight years has worked as a clerk at the music store.
Aside from jobs, $45 out of every $100 spent at a local store stays in the community. As opposed to $15, if you bought the items at a big box store.
"We circulate that money, we pay our employees, we use a local bank, we use our local trades people when something breaks here," said Jack Finn.
Nearly 100 small businesses in the area will participate in " Bag Day" Saturday, offering a 20% discount in hopes of providing incentive to shop locally.