Summit County’s ‘buy local’ initiative successful in 2009 | SummitDaily.com
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Summit County’s ‘buy local’ initiative successful in 2009

CAITLIN ROW
summit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY – Nearly $48,000 was generated through the 2009 Summit Unchained (“Buy Local”) Challenge – a 229 percent increase over 2008.

The “buy local” educational campaign was put on by the Summit Independent Business Alliance (SIBA), and it ran between Nov. 21 and Dec. 31, 2009. It asked Summit County residents and visitors to shift at least 10 percent of their spending to local, independent businesses for the holiday season.

SIBA executive director Katie Roberts attributed the increase in local sales in ’09 to a combination of factors.

“We had more members this year distributing the cards and participating in the event in various ways, whether it was doing the co-op educational advertising, donating a prize for the drawing, handing out punch cards, or all three of these things,” Roberts said. “We heightened visibility of the campaign with support materials, such as posters and window/door decals, as well as a bright red reusable bag, which said ‘Break the Chain in Support of Local, Independent Business.'”

Roberts said volunteers handed out approximately 500 bags to the community during the kick-off and campaign season.

“We had a fairly large group of volunteers helping this year in big ways and small,” she added. “I think that the ‘group’ help created a lot of positive, creative energy, which helped fuel the program’s success. It wasn’t just our messaging, but the people that made such a difference this year.”

The Summit Unchained Challenge had a specially-designed punch card to motivate people to support local, independent

businesses.

It tracked the amount spent by each participant, and 2009’s campaign encouraged people to turn in their cards whether they were partially or fully completed.

This was done to help SIBA get a better handle on the amount of dollars spent and this year’s participation level. Cards turned in were put into a prize drawing – people can pick up their winnings at The Next Page Bookstore in Frisco.

According to Roberts, the concept behind the Unchained campaign was to preserve and enhance Summit County.

“I think that in a tough economy, there’s this idea that everyone is looking for a deal,” she said. “And that’s true to some extent, but I believe many of the Summit Unchained participants are realizing that deals can be found even in our county. And they’re also realizing that buying ‘cheap’ and from businesses that are not homegrown in Summit County comes with a price. It means that the dollar doesn’t recycle to as great of a degree as it would if they shopped in Summit County and ‘kept it local.’ Shopping cheap, or choosing to buy outside our county, means that we’re not supporting neighborhood businesses, and many of those businesses give back a great deal to the community in terms of donating around the holidays and other times of the year. The more they make, the more they’re able to give back in terms of charitable efforts.”

For more information about the Summit Independent Business Alliance (SIBA), visit http://www.summitindependentbusiness.com.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.


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