(3TV/CBS 5) - They like the convenience, the selection and the free shipping.

Amazon has changed the way customers shop, especially now during the holidays.

Amazon has also changed the way small businesses operate, like Gracefully Made Jewelry in Sun City

A few years ago, Katya Rocha started selling her homemade personalized bracelets and necklaces online.

Then, Rocha posted her products on Amazon and the business took off.

"As a small business owner, you definitely have to watch where your costs are going," said Rocha. "In my opinion, there's less risk in listing something online as opposed to opening a store."

Rocha and her husband Jared said the amount of money they save not having a walk-in store has allowed them to expand their product line and hire five full-time employees who work out of a small office.

Sales have jumped 20 percent this year with customers placing orders from as far away as the UK and Australia, Jared Rocha said.

"I'm sure there are advantages to brick and mortar, but with a brick and mortar store, you're localized and you will get customers in the general area," said Jared Rocha. "But online, we're able to reach people throughout the nation and that's an advantage for us."

Amazon spokeswoman Andrea Ruge said the success of businesses like Gracefully Made is catching on across the state, with more and more Arizona companies turning to Amazon to attract customers.

"There are over 19,000 small and medium-sized businesses selling on Amazon here in Arizona, and thousands in the the Phoenix metro area," said Ruge. "They're coming and they're selling like Gracefully Made, and they're growing and hiring new employees."

"This has been the busiest we've ever been right now," said Katya Rocha.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.



Jason Barry is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports highlighting local restaurants with major health code violations.

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