Retail stores throughout Hernando prepared their shops with Christmas decorations and all sorts of potential presents for the annual “Sip n’ Shop” Dec. 10 and 11.

Organized by the Hernando Main Street Chamber of Commerce, the annual Sip n’ Shop was a way for residents to take care of some Christmas shopping and support local businesses at the same time.

Shopping locally, especially after the hit many small businesses suffered from the pandemic, has never been more important according to Jay Patel, an out-of-towner visiting some friends in Hernando.

“We’ve been cooped up because of COVID, but things like Sip n’ Shop help get people out and about in these trying times and stimulate local economies,” Patel said.

Hunter Logan, whose wife owns Saint x Social, said that business has improved greatly compared to last year during the height of the pandemic.

“We’re doing fine. We’ve been selling a lot of clothing lately,” Logan said. “This year’s been much better than last year. Last year, we were forced to shut down for half of it.”  

Many Hernando residents agreed that shopping locally is important to make sure the community can continue to flourish.

“It’s important to support local businesses,” Alexa Salmon said. “It’s an easy way to give back to our community.”

Bryan Nguyen said that shopping local helps build and maintain an integral part of the Hernando community. He also said that having all of the small businesses that Hernando does helps give the town more character.

“I think it’s really nice to have as many locally owned places as we do,” Nguyen said. “I don’t want to live in a town where my only option is a Walmart. I’d much rather spend my money somewhere local.”

Angelica Hoffman, a Hernando business owner, is also passionate about supporting other local businesses.

“Owning a small business is the American dream,” Hoffman said. “We need to support the people that we know. When you shop local, not only are you helping a family pursue their dream, you’re helping your community thrive.”

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