And it’s easy to support this springtime resurgence, as explained by Erin Haray of Estate Treasures,
500 Harrison Ave. Writing in this month’s Downtowner newsletter, she suggested
three things locals can do:
l Find them on Facebook. Like the businesses’ pages, share their photos and events, comment on their posts. Social media is today’s “word of mouth” advertising.
“The more you interact with a business page, the more they will be seen by others and the more exposure they get,” she said. “You may connect someone with a small business they didn’t know about.”
l Shop downtown. This may seem obvious, but take a second to think about all the different kinds of businesses you’ll find: salons, galleries, dance studio, arts cooperative, cupcake shop, award-winning restaurants, antique stores, saltwater aquarium shop, boutiques, music stores, skate supply shop, theater and Civic Center, furniture stores,
and major appliances, and more.
“Downtown is a community in itself, and you will feel that when you are here,” Haray said. “Shopping in locally owned businesses ensures that part of the money you spend gets filtered back into the local economy. When you shop locally, everyone benefits.”
l Attend events. Friday Fest fills
with food vendors, local organizations, car clubs, live bands and more on the
first Friday of each Harrison Avenue month
through November. Hogs & Grogs brings motorcycle enthusiasts to the street
on the second Thursday of each month
through September. Vintage Market, with its mix of antiques and collectibles, opens
the first Friday and Saturday of the month through November.
Downtown also regularly hosts other events, like Festival of Nations, Oktoberfest, Dickens of a Christmas, concerts in
and more. (See our calendar pages
and the online events calendar at McKenzie Park PanamaCity.com for details.)
“In addition to attending events, find out about volunteering,” Haray suggested. “Some of the happenings downtown take quite a bit of setup, takedown, planning, organizing, etc. Get in touch with the Downtown Improvement Board (PCDIB.com) and find out which events need volunteers.”
Multiple restaurants and shops downtown are now hosting live music nights under the “Music Matters” banner. The musicians are not being paid by the venues, however; they’re playing for tips, so don’t forget to “Tip the Talent,” as the signs at each venue suggest. For more info, check out Facebook.com/MusicMattersPCFla online.
“Live local music talent is being offered at several venues on Wednesday nights downtown,” Haray said. “Go to as many as you can and let others know about them — that goes back to sharing on Facebook.”
As Haray points out, some of the best benefits of patronizing a small business are the personal touch and unique experience. The shops offer items you’re not liable to find in a big box store or an online retailer, and customers can count on receiving as much personal attention as they desire.