BETHESDA, Md. - Shopping for the holidays? Some area leaders hope consumers will buy local and help boost the local economy.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot visited local shops in Bethesda Wednesday, kicking off his annual tour throughout the state promoting small business patronage.
"When you come into these small businesses, you get good products, you get good service," says Franchot.
"These are the folks that supply the jobs for our neighbors and friends in Maryland," he added.
Franchot also criticized the many shoppers who do most of their purchasing online.
"Every Marylander that is concerned about the economy should get off the Internet as fast as possible -- come down to Woodmont, Triangle, right here in Bethesda."
He also got fired up when recalling that some shoppers have the nerve to walk into a small business, look at a product and then in front of the owners, pull out their cellphones to check other prices and purchase it right there and then. He says some even have the nerve to ask for an empty box.
"I mean the gall of people! So I hope we fight back a little bit and support these local stores," he says.
There are 500,000 Marylanders employed in the state's retail sector.
Pat Donoho, president of the Maryland Retail Association, also is chiming in.
"Maryland retailers truly appreciate the support consumers give them during the holidays by shopping in their stores. Thanksgiving provided a great start for the holiday season. Shoppers responded to the variety of promotions offered by Maryland retailers with an increase in sales of over 5 percent from 2011," Donoho said, in a news release.
Downtown Bethesda is the first of several stops on the comptroller's tour to promote retailers and community shopping areas throughout the state.
Franchot also plans to visit Reisterstown, Cumberland, Chestertown and Leonardtown.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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