NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – You have probably already started some of your Christmas shopping, but have you shopped at any of the many local businesses in the Lowcountry.

“Vote for Mom & Pop” is an initiative that was started by the organization Lowcountry Local First.

The purpose of this movement is to encourage more people to do some of their holiday shopping at locally owned businesses.

“Not only is it a time where consumers are thinking about gifts and hosting and all of those things…it’s really an important time for businesses to make up what they may have lost earlier in the year,” said Jordan Amaker, Director of Lowcountry Local First.

The movement has been around for 14 years and this year will take place from November 1 until December 31, which is different from the usual one month long time span of recent years.

Amaker said one reason for this change is the pandemic.

“This is the first year we’ve turned it into a two month long season…it’s usually a month long but considering the year we’ve had, people in the business community…can use all the support they can get.”

Jordan Amaker, Director of Lowcountry Local First

The Station Park Circle, like many other local businesses all over the country, had to close for months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, for some businesses, this temporary closure turned into a permanent one, which motivated local business owner Sharon Payer to support “Vote for Mom & Pop” without any hesitation.

“It’s very, very important to get out there and shop local so that we can all continue to survive and thrive and stay around for a very long time because it does wonders for the community,” Payer said.

Click here for more information on “Vote for Mom & Pop” and to add your own local business to their list.