MARCELINE, Mo.- A new retail business organization in Marceline, Mo., compiled of small-business owners, has been working on a collaborative project to foster growth in the local economy.

On April 24, 2017, the group published a Facebook page aptly named, Shop Main Street USA. In the first phase, the page served as an informational hub for the community by announcing special contests, sales, promotions, and events to show appreciation for the support that has been given.

The next phase of the project launched yesterday, May 1, 2017, where online shopping was implemented by Main Street USA.  To start, seven businesses in the group opened online retail-store pages through Facebook that are centrally linked by the current Shop Main Street USA Facebook page.

Customers can now efficiently shop and pay online for merchandise which can either be picked up the same day or shipped from participating retailers.

The group seeks to boost commerce in the town partly due to local shop doors that have closed in the recent past. Suzan McClain, a small-business owner and participant of Shop Main Street USA stated, “Most people don’t even know some of these shops exist, we still get people that come in and say they never even knew we were here.”

Slumping small-town retail sales are due in-part to large, online retail companies, like Amazon, steadily gaining more of the market share. The convenience of point-and-click shopping from a smart phone, tablet, or computer along with free two-day shipping has severely threatened most “mom and pop” businesses.

The project will now allow local shops to compete for local customers in the online retain market and help to retain revenue for the local economy. McClain says the initiative is continuing to grow as one more business as already committed to the project.

McClain also states, “Shipping costs and efficiency are potential issues that will be addressed by the organizers down the road.”

Shop Main Street USA organizers have said that they plan to expand the service to include other area retail businesses in the future.