“Think Local – Buy Local"
By JOE SOVA Hungry Horse News
Buying local is the way to help Northwest Montana get back on the path to positive growth and 100 percent employment. Keep your dollars here!” That’s what you’ll find at the top of a Web page that is in the early stage of promoting a “buy local” theme in the Flathead Valley. The Web site is www.buylocalflathead.org. Glacier Subaru, Glacier Nissan and MONTANAsky.net are founding members of the Web site, which has a new logo. As of Tuesday, 31 other local businesses were members. Sam and DeAnn Ayala are the new owners of Glacier Subaru/Glacier Nissan, and Tom Heatherington is the head of MONTANAsky.net, a local Internet provider. The Ayalas and Heatherington met with nine other members of the business community last week to toss around ideas of how to promote the “Think Local – Buy Local” campaign. Also invited to attend was Greg Davis, an economics professor at Flathead Valley Community College. Davis liked the idea, but cautioned that there are logistics when you keep your shopping local. “When all else is equal, buy local,” Davis said simply. “You can deliver on service. What’s made business stronger is the competitive element. It’s not all about price, it’s about service.” He added that we should have the mindset of “if we can buy something here (in the Flathead), but it here.” He encouraged local businesses to buy from other local businesses.
“Think before you shop,” Heatherington said. Sally Petersen, owner of Funtastic Finds in Columbia Falls, totally supports “buy local,” and talked about promoting the idea. She said “getting the word out and making it stick” is important. “It gives local companies a chance,” DeAnn Ayala said when shoppers consider local buying. Sam Ayala said there is no intent to boycott local box stores because they are an important part of our economy and employ a lot of Flathead people. Heatherington said the “buy local” members provide reinforcement to the community, financially, and is involved in “trying to lift everybody up.” Davis indicated it’s a good time to promote local buying. “There is more opportunity for the small guys than ever before because of the big guys,” Davis said. “The rest of the nation has to come out of the doldrums before we can.” The opt ion to use the “buy local” logo in print and TV advertising and the shopping local idea in radio ads was also discussed.
For further information about the “buy local” campaign, contact Heatherington at 752-4335 ex: 2005.
Below is a survey that was done by the Portland, Maine buy local program. Survey Finds Buy Local has Positive Impact
The results of our January member survey are in!Among the 57 members who responded, 79% reported that the campaign had a positive impact on their business and 68% said that they had gained new customers as a result of it. Those numbers are up from a similar survey two years ago in which 60% of members reported that their business had been positively impacted by Portland Buy Local and 40% said they had gained new customers because of it.The survey also found that members who incorporated more of the Buy Local message and materials into their businesses reported a greater positive impact from the campaign.Members ranked the following as the top 5 most effective Buy Local activities:
1. Growing the membership of Buy Local
2. Web site and online business directory
3. Window decals
4. Media coverage (on MPBN, WCSH, etc.)
5. Printed directory