Baker, Business Leaders Urge Residents to Shop Local

'#BuyInMA' campaign aims to get neighborhood and hometown retailers a share of increased holiday spending

The store called Gifted on Dartmouth Street in Boston's South End won't ever be confused with the size or the selection of a Toys R Us or a Target. But for owner Marie Corcoran, that is exactly the point.

"I definitely try to find items that I don't see elsewhere, so I'm definitely trying to support artists that I haven't seen before, unique gifts that people aren't necessarily going to see from other people," Corcoran said in an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Stores like Gifted are where Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts retail industry leaders are urging Bay Staters to buy at least five of their holiday presents this year, in a campaign they're calling #buyinMA on social media.

"It's important that we keep in mind where make these purchases has an impact, on our communities, and on our neighors, and on jobs," Retailers Association of Massachusetts CEO Jon B. Hurst said at a Faneuil Hall Marketplace event Tuesday afternoon. The association is predicting Bay State holiday-season spending will be up 6.5 percent from last year.

John Barros, chief of economic development for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said city leaders want "to ask you to be conscious about where you shop, to shop locally."

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said: "Local businesses create lots of vitality in our downtowns and neighborhoods. And not only do they create a lot of vitality, they also give a lot back to our communities, they support youth groups, they support theater groups, they support sports teams."

Many shoppers like Katerina Lurasi of Arlington say shopping the neighborhood stores can take more effort than the mall or the Internet -- but it's worth it. "It's nice being local, because everything is close by, and sometimes they have unique products that are not online," Lurasi said. "But it's also kind of difficult if it gets cold outside. You don't want to dress up to go out there and it's easier to shop online."

For Marie Corcoran at Gifted, the flip side of "shop local" means "sell local" -- whimsical hand-crafted clocks and lots of other kinds of made-only-in-Massachusetts gifts and crafts and clothing.

"I just celebrated seven years" in business, Corcoran said, "and that seven years is because of people shopping locally."

With videographer Darrell R. Smith

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