February a great month to shop local

San Marco Square shops have something for your sweetheart

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

This month offers one of those perfect reasons to kiss two birds with one set of lips. Shop locally for that Valentine’s Day gift for your sweetheart and you’ll be thanked more than once: the shop owner or restaurateur you visit will be just as grateful!

Did you know that for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures? If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home (statistics courtesy Civic Economics study, 2008). And, if just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, those purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue (employment statistics courtesy U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009).
What to get and where to go for great gifts in and about San Marco Square? Guys, for that special gal, you’ll find everything from candy, cards and trinkets to clothing, accessories and jewelry. Gals, for the man in your life, consider tobacco and its accoutrements, sporting goods or writing implements. Cap off the evening and take her out for a very special dinner at any of the San Marco fine restaurants and bistros.

While you’re out and about, take note of the progress on Balis Park. As you navigate the easy detours via Alford, Hendricks, and Landon Avenue, keep in mind that these temporary inconveniences are harder on the merchants than they are on you. “Businesses are contributing members of the community so it’s important for everyone to band together,” said Taverna co-owner Kiley Wynne Efron. “This will be one of the most beautiful and exciting places to visit in the city; even now I rarely have to leave the Square to shop for things I need.”
This initial phase will be about two months until the roundabout is finished sometime in early March; then Balis Park construction will be complete in May. Parking will not be diminished and shoppers can also use the 200 parking spots between Naldo Avenue and San Marco Place behind Firehouse Subs, and between San Marco Place and Hendricks Avenue behind Southside Baptist Church.

“We had a tremendous fourth quarter in the Square and are looking forward to maintaining that momentum in 2013 with Balis Park and the overall beautification of the Square,” stated George Foote, president of the San Marco Merchants Association. “With help of the community, the San Marco Preservation Society and patrons we can get through the first quarter of the year. All shops are open!”

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