BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There is a brand-new way to shop local here in Alabama, and you can now do so from the comfort of your own home.
Front Porch Alabama is their name and selling local is their game. It’s an online website local shops, artists or makers in our state can join.
The website that officially launched in August has intentions of taking the ‘shop local’ movement to new heights just in time for the holiday shopping season.
On the website you can search categories like Alabama Gameday, Gift Ideas, and Alabama Made. You can also search by shop.
You’ll find several of your favorites in surrounding areas or discover new hidden gems throughout the state.
The website’s director, Darcie Plowden, said this helps local retailers and vendors not only survive, but thrive year-round. This also keeps local revenue right here in our state.
“You can put multiple items in your check out from different shops and then have them all shipped to your home,” said Plowden. “It just saves you time. You can scroll from your sofa at 10:00 at night or whenever. It just makes it so much easier for busy shoppers.”
Plowden said they recognize many shoppers work later than some local stores stay open, but Front Porch Alabama makes your local favorites available 24/7.
“Some of the boutiques, you know, have limited hours,” said Plowden. “They close at 5:00 or 6:00. And so, working folks you know often can’t get there in time to shop especially during the busy holiday season. So Front Porch is always open. You can shop places in Fairhope, Huntsville, everything in between in one check out.”
Local shops like Stella Blu in Mountain Brook say Front Porch Alabama has opened their store to a new world of customers, even out of state.
Co-owner Halle Ray said they need a strong push to get them through the post-holiday shopping season, and this will help tremendously. They’re already seeing a boost in sales.
“So, you’re supporting your local businesses, but also if you have somebody that’s out of state, they’re still supporting a small business which is always number one for us,” said Ray.
Ray said an online presence for local retailers like herself is not just a want but a need. Shopping local not only benefits them but the entire community.
“Small stores like us, we support our community,” said Ray. “We give back to the schools. We do the fundraisers, the charity events, and, you know, if we’re not here the city doesn’t get their tax dollars as well. So, it’s kind of hand and hand. We’re all about shopping local.”
Front Porch Alabama said they are open to welcoming more local retailers. It is free for those who would like to partner with the website.
Front Porch Alabama does all the marketing and advertising for a small percentage of the sales, and the retailers take care of shipping in house.