New holiday shopping options pop up in Vt. - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

New holiday shopping options pop up in Vt.

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WILLISTON, Vt. -

As you make your list and check it twice, local shops hope you don't forget about them this holiday season.

"There's lot to choose from," said Brenda Murphy of Vergennes. "This our third trip here."

This is the first year for pop-up shop the Vermont Artisan Craft Gallery in the Burlington Town Center Mall. For the busiest three shopping months of the year, people can choose from gifts made by more than 75 Vermont artisans.

"Definitely rather support local than the box stores," said Courtney Gourley of Middlesex. "It's fun to shop here."

"I don't think you can compare a Vermont gift to something in a box store. They're second to none. You're next-door neighbor could have made it and that's a true gift," said Darcy Church of the Vermont Artisan Craft Gallery.

"Customers, since the recession, are even more aware of shopping locally because they've seen the downturn in the economy," said Tasha Wallis of the Vermont Retail Association.

The Retail Association says that even though the economy is still rebounding, local business is up. And that's important for the job market; 38,000 Vermonters work in retail. That's one in five people.

"We were earlier predicting a 4 percent growth in retail this year. There is some uncertainty about the fiscal cliff, but no one ever cancels Christmas," Wallis said.

Giving people the community experience rather than the box store one they might be used to.

"I think there's a lot more time and effort in these products and they come out looking much nicer," said John Teske of Milton.

There are several local pop-up shops, including Sweet Grass Gallery and Gifts in Williston, but the nice thing is they each have their own flair-- and in unique settings. Sweet Grass is located in a former driving range and offers products from 44 Vermont artisans. This is its second year popping up for the holidays.

Alyson Chase of Sweet Grass said, "Why carry a store all year when the most lucrative time of the year is the months we're open anyway?"

"Many local shops do as much as 40 percent during the holiday season, so for many it can make or break them," Wallis said.

Reporter Gina Bullard: There are a lot of box stores around here. Is it hard to compete with that?

Alyson Chase: I don't consider them competition because it's totally different what we have.

A shopping experience that's unique to Vermont.

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