Internet Sales May Impact the Local Economy

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It may seem convenient turning to the World Wide Web to do your holiday shopping but the click of your mouse could cause the local economy to suffer.

"I don't think there's any question, we're seeing an impact in internet sales but on the flipside we have some people doing it. But in our particular area of the economy it hurts us more than we gain," says Royce Hickman with the Byan and College Station Chamber of Commerce.

This holiday season, Hickman says, shoppers in our community are expected to spend at least 10-million dollars, all on-line. And Gene Joyce with Audio Video in College Station says he is competing with the internet.

"Its probably made our clientele a smaller percentage of the population because we deal more with people who want or appreciate a better quality of service and better knowledge of the product."

In order to better compete with the internet, Joyce is now matching prices to those folks find on the web.

But internet shopping is not affecting every mom and pop store. Folks are still shopping and buying at Parker-Astin Hardware.

"Most of our customers come from our local neighborhood and treat the store like a hardware/convenience store so it’s more of a local place where people come and shop," says owner Fred Forgey.

But while folks are shopping at Parker-Astin, Joyce tries to attract new customers, while the chamber does the same, longing to keep folks shopping in Bryan-College Station, and hoping laws will be made requiring internet sites to tax on sales.

Royce Hickman says, "We're a state that's dependent on sales tax to fund our government and so if we lose those sales tax dollars it hurts the local government's ability to repair our roads and take care of the things that need to be taken care of by government."