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See Lancaster, the nonprofit organization responsible for marketing and promoting Lancaster County, has started an initiative that allows businesses in downtown Lancaster, Heath Springs and Kershaw to be listed on a Web site hosted by the National Trust Main Street Center.
The site, www.shopmainstreet.org, encourages shoppers to support independent businesses and local economies by offering a single directory of “Mom and Pop” businesses throughout the nation.
The National Trust supports more than 1,200, nonprofit Main Street organizations dedicated to revitalizing their historic commercial districts. Because See Lancaster is one of these groups, it’s able to offer the service to downtown businesses.
“More and more people are shopping online,” said Carrie Miller of See Lancaster. “It is vital that our businesses have a way to keep up with this trend.”
See Lancaster has partnered with the Lancaster Downtown Business Association to help get the word out.
“It is our aim to have as many businesses as possible listed on this national Web site,” Miller said.
Four businesses have already signed up – CB’s Ltd., Smooth’s Music, Books & Gifts, Fuzzy Mabel and Wagz and Wishes.
“When See Lancaster told me about this Web site, I thought of it as a really great opportunity to have access to a national portal of consumers,” said Cynthia Robinson, owner of the Fuzzy Mabel. “Not only does it make people aware of my store, but also that Lancaster has something to offer.”
“Our business has a lot of customers that visit from out of the Lancaster area and being listed on this Web site will alert others that we are in Lancaster, and that we offer free shipping to our Internet customers,” said Fred Hogsett, owner of Smooth’s Music, Books & Gifts.
See Lancaster is hoping more downtown businesses will take advantage of this free service, including those in Heath Springs and Kershaw that have qualifying Web sites.
“I think it would be wonderful if every time somebody around the country selects South Carolina on this site, they would be overwhelmed with the number of businesses located in Lancaster County,” Miller said.
All featured businesses are required to have existing online catalogs or online shopping capabilities and must be located in Main Street districts that have volunteer-driven revitalization programs in place.
Business owners are asked to contact See Lancaster if their business needs a Web site or they have other questions.
For details, call Miller at 286-1145, extension 22, or at cmiller@Seelancaster.org.