After realizing the key role small businesses play in keeping Kershaw County thriving, North Central High School student Kayla Bowers set up a Facebook page -- Shop Local Shop Camden -- to highlight small businesses in Camden and encourage residents to shop locally. Kayla is also challenging residents to do 25 percent of their holiday shopping in Camden.
Kayla said reading “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald inspired her to start her initiative to promote local shopping.
“I learned more about the American dream after reading the book and I realized that my generation needs to start supporting local businesses,” Kayla said.
Kayla’s idea led her to Facebook where she started a page and began posting descriptions and photos of local stores. Her instinct to use Facebook as a resource to get the word out to the community proved successful after the page generated 85 likes within days of being created. According to Kayla, people are active on the page and often like the photos and descriptions she posts. Since the page is only a few weeks old, Kayla is hoping the amount of followers will continue to rise as the word about the page and its effort spreads more throughout the community.
“I envision bringing back the American dream and by supporting local businesses, we can make it more achievable,” Kayla said. “Supporting them can provide more jobs and bring money into the community.”
In addition to wanting residents to support small, locally-owned businesses, Kayla said she started the page because she knows people who own small businesses and has heard about how difficult it is to keep them open with the current state of the economy.
That’s something Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Horton said she knows about first-hand and fully supports the Kayla’s initiative.
“I think it is a great page and we are appreciative of her,” Horton said.
The chamber recently launched its own shop local campaign and selected to be a Neighborhood Champion by American Express for small business.
“It has been proven that for every $100 spent in a locally-owned independent business, $68 comes back to the local community,” Horton said.
Kayla and the chamber are encouraging residents to shop on Small Business Saturday -- this Saturday -- from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The first 175 customers who spend $15 or more and stop by Carolina Café or the Palmetto Coffee Shoppe in Camden will receive a free ornament courtesy of the chamber, and will also be entered into a drawing to win American Express gift cards.