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Local Businesses Stay Competitive

Amazon.com announces it will create 7,000 new jobs, signaling growth in the online marketplace, but local business owners say they don't feel threatened following the announcement.
July 29, 2013 - As online retail giant Amazon.com announced its creation of 7,000 new jobs, it can probably be safely said that that is a sign of growth in the world of online shopping.

Local, storefront business owners said they have what it takes to stay competitive, and keep brick-and-mortar stores alive.

"From our website, you can do anything that you can do on the “amazon” website," said Lea O’Connell, owner of Ye Ole Sweet Shoppe in Erie.

O’Connell said she’s been tapping into the web for years to keep her business growing because she knows its importance.

"I know that online is a huge opportunity for businesses, so we're not going to let that slide by the wayside," said O’Connell.

Other business owners, like Gretchen Wheeler of Claytopia, said she's attracting, and informing customers on the web - including through social media - but plans to keep the majority of her business in house.

"There's no other way you can do what you do here. You come in, and get a piece of pottery and you paint it. You leave it here with us, we glaze and fire it, so to get that experience you can only come in and do it. You can't do it online and get the same results," said Wheeler.

At World of Music in Erie, they said they don't feel threatened by this apparent boost in online shopping, because they say nothing beats a hands-on approach.

"The internet can't tune a guitar for you. We're able to pick the right product for you," said Amanda Karns, marketing director for World of Music.

Because of their combination of service and products, businesses like these believe their businesses will continue to be…

"...timeless. That is always something you have to come in and take the time to do with your family; do it here instead of online,” said Wheeler.


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