Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce launched its new Think Local First 3/60 promotional campaign today. With the abundance of shopping options available from the internet to urban centre excursions, the reasons for shopping locally can sometimes be forgotten.
It’s a message that is reinforced throughout the year, but it is especially import during the important Christmas retail season.
The Chamber and the Economic Development Partnership has been leading the education campaign for the past several years on the benefits of shopping and buying locally.
The Think Local First 3/60 marketing campaign is based on a marketing campaign in several US communities following the economic downturn. The business organization is challenging shoppers to pick three local businesses they would hate to see close. Stop in. Spend at least $60 and make a commitment to Think local First.
“Those three purchases of $60 will come full circle, 360 degrees, because the businesses put your money back into the community, whether it’s through payroll and creating local jobs or donating to local charities,” said Tom Thomson, Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Examples of businesses investing in the community are all around us. Just look at the donor lists for the Kootenay Lake Hospital Foundation campaigns or the names of team sponsors on sports jerseys.
“You’re not going to see a business from Spokane or Kelowna sponsoring our hockey players, contributing to our non-profits or beautifying our city,” Thomson said.
For this reason, he said, people should feel good about spending their money locally.
“If there’s something they need and they can find the quality and selection they’re looking for right here in Nelson, then it should be a simple decision to buy it from here.”
Thomson knows nobody spends every single cent they earn in the community, but he hopes the campaign will encourage folks to shift a greater portion of their spending to local businesses.
“There’s no shortage of shopping opportunities here, and many people from neighbouring communities visit Nelson for that reason. That’s not something you should take for granted,” he said.
Chamber of Commerce president Chuck Bennett notes that times have been tough for businesses as they continue to recover from the 2009 recession.
“As the economy remains challenged, we as consumers need to remain diligent in making sure we support the business that are important to us,” Bennett said.
“We get to decide with our buying decisions what kind of community we want. If we don’t support the Mallards and Gericks of the world, those businesses will eventually disappear.”
Bennett believes many people in Nelson already know the importance of shopping local and do it regularly. The campaign is aimed at people who need a little reminder. “Shopping local isn’t a new idea, but it’s something everyone needs to continue to do to keep Nelson the great place it is,” Bennett said.
So the question needs to be asked: how do we make shopping locally a habit rather than an idea? Thomson notes “the best place to start as business owners is to ensure that we as a business community are providing the products our customers want, and that seems to continually evolve.
“We need to be known for competitive pricing which I believe we are, and we need to provide exceptional customer service. If you find what you want locally, the price is competitive and the quality meets your needs, buy it here.”