It’s only six miles from Surf City to Topsail Beach — a short drive that Lori Fisher hopes more area residents will take as they tackle their Christmas lists.


It’s only six miles from Surf City to Topsail Beach — a short drive that Lori Fisher hopes more area residents will take as they tackle their Christmas lists.



Fisher’s store, Quarter Moon Books, is one of the more than 20 businesses taking part in this year’s Topsail Chamber of Commerce Hometown Christmas campaign, which encourages holiday shoppers to find the unique gifts offered in area shops.



“We’re trying to draw in potential shoppers who don’t think about beach bags and nautical wear until they’re on vacation at the beach,” Tammy Procter, director of the Topsail Chamber, said. “We have a lot of unique shops in this area.”



Fisher said it’s difficult to compete with the likes of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, despite Quarter Moon’s online presence. To keep commerce active in the Topsail Beach area, Fisher said it’s necessary for locally owned businesses to work together. She hopes more people will visit her bookstore and coffee shop near the New Topsail Inlet.



“We’re six miles from Surf City, and people aren’t sure what’s out here,” Fisher said. “I’m hoping more people that haven’t ventured to the south end of the island will discover us.”



Hometown Christmas is in its second year and involves more than 20 local businesses affiliated with the chamber, which will promote the businesses and any special deals they might offer through Dec. 26. Procter said this year’s Hometown Christmas will expand on last year’s as more stores participate and more time is devoted to the campaign. Last year’s Hometown Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving with 15 stores participating. Procter took over her current position with the chamber last October and saw the campaign as a personal challenge to forgo box retailers and do the “majority” of her Christmas shopping at locally owned stores.



“The goal is to promote businesses,” Procter said. “We need to get the information out.”



One of the event’s coordinators and participants is Amber Asisy, owner of Bella Vie Boutique in Hampstead. Asisy said it’s her hope to improve upon last year’s campaign, which only promoted participating stores instead of offering incentives or holding promotional events like the recent Holiday Open House. 



“It was kind of a, ‘Here’s a brochure, consider them for shopping,’” Asisy said about last year’s Hometown Christmas. “There was never any incentive for the shopper to shop. This year, it’s a brochure and there are incentives. (Customers) are getting something in return. We’re not just pushing the shop local idea.”



Topsail Island Trading Company owner Claire Noto said her business plans on offering sales on T-shirts, toys and holiday-themed items. Noto hopes the campaign will bring customers to her shop at a time when business is slower during the tourism off-season.



“We don’t want (shoppers) to go all the way out to Wilmington,” Noto said. “We’re hoping to get some new customers who don’t know what we have to offer as well as show appreciation for customers that do shop with us.”



To find out more about Hometown Christmas, visit its Facebook page or call the Topsail Chamber of Commerce at 910-329-4446.