By: Bruce Batti, President of JSA
In September of 2008, after watching the two-year implosion of the housing, financial and auto industries, Steve Geil, then President / CEO of the Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County (EDC), felt the downturn would soon be hitting the retail industry. So, Steve took the idea of producing a “Buy Local” campaign to the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, and suggested the EDC and Chamber partner in a public outreach campaign. Incoming Chair, Debbie Hunsaker, and the Chamber Board embraced the idea and it soon became a reality.
A BUY LOCAL campaign was launched in early 2009 with a simple message: When you buy local, you create jobs, you create sales tax revenue and you help financially support services vital to the communities in which we live. As we head into the 2014 holiday season, it’s important to note that Buy Local is as relevant today as it was in 2009. Mainly, because sales tax revenue comes back to us in the form of emergency services, healthcare, education, parks and many other needed services. Equally important, is the fact that when we BUY LOCAL, we help create jobs right here in our community. It’s no secret that when our local businesses prosper, our community thrives.
I’m not suggesting that we NEVER buy online, or out-of-town, because as consumers, we will always weigh the big three factors of price, service and selection. But what I am suggesting, is that when those three factors are close, we give preference to our local community first. Plus, there are always advantages to frequenting our local shops. Like walking in and knowing the owner by name, having a favorite, go-to, salesperson, or equally important today, a live voice who will answer the phone – and your question.
As local business owners, we have to set examples and always look to our backyard first before purchasing goods and services for our businesses. Most of us understand the importance of local, but maybe it’s time for us to renew our commitment to the local business community. So, before we break out our wallets this holiday season, let’s make sure to support our local choices first as we, Think Local. Buy Local. Spend Local.
Simply put, Local First is good for business. And that’s good for everyone.