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Alexandria Retailers Hope Bloggers Can Bring In Local Shoppers

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Amy Rutherford, owner of the Red Barn Mercantile Exchange, hopes the power of social media and the new "ShopLocalAlexandria" blog can push more Alexandrians to shop in the neighborhood.
Jonathan Wilson
Amy Rutherford, owner of the Red Barn Mercantile Exchange, hopes the power of social media and the new "ShopLocalAlexandria" blog can push more Alexandrians to shop in the neighborhood.

By Jonathan Wilson

In Virginia, independent retailers in Alexandria's Old Town shopping district are hoping bloggers can help bring more local residents into the area's boutique shops.

The ShopLocalAlexandria blog goes online Wednesday. It'll be written by three residents recruited by the Old Town Boutique District.

The three residents will write for the next three months about trying to meet their everyday needs only through local retailers.

Amy Rutherford, owner of the Red Barn Mercantile Exchange on Columbus Street, says anytime people buy local it's great, but it'll be especially helpful leading into the slow summer months.

"Congress is out, school is out, people are traveling. So Old Town, and many other places, even the malls, get very quiet during July and August," says Rutherford.

Catherine Martin is one of the local residents who'll be blogging. She's had some practice; she already has her own blog about fashion.

She says she's not worried about people liking the personality that comes across through her blogs, as long as people are reading.

"Blogging is a very viral thing," says Martin. "You know, once somebody hears about it, if they like you, or maybe if they really hate you, they tend to pass you along. I'm blogging about fashion so I don't think I'm getting hated on too much."

Retailers in the Old Town Boutique District say if residents could shift just 10 percent of their shopping dollars to local independent retailers, it could mean dozens of local jobs, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local economy.

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