FORT MILL — email@example.com
The York County Regional Chamber of Commerce is trying to make shopping locally a frequent habit.
The chamber has expanded its “Buy Into It!” holiday tiding into a year-round campaign with a series of promotions, such as proclaiming May 26 York County Buy Local Day and suggesting people spend $20 on the 20th of each month.
The chamber also is holding a series of promotions around holidays such as Father’s Day, plus during the tax-free weekend, around back-to-school time and during a summer event titled “Staycation,” which is oriented to children.
The chamber has traditionally asked residents to buy local during the Christmas holiday season.
The buy local campaign was expanded because of efforts by the Leadership Project sponsored by the chamber.
The leadership group – 26 people selected from throughout the county for a one-year program – selected the effort as a class project. Buying local, said Steve Parker of the leadership group and the Rock Hill Police Department, creates jobs and fights unemployment and poverty.
Shopping locally, said Parker and others, makes economic sense as 45 cents of every dollar spent locally is returned to the local economy, according to several studies. If the money is spent at a national chain store, the return is about 15 cents of each dollar.
To raise awareness for the campaign, the class worked on an education strategy. It also raised $4,700 to promote shopping locally.
Wednesday was the official kickoff for the campaign at the Fish Market in Baxter Village in Fort Mill. Members of the leadership class announced Wednesday was a “day of thanks” during which they visited York County businesses to create awareness for the shop local campaign and say “thank you,” said Tim Marini of the leadership group, who works at Founders Federal Credit Union.
Participation from merchants as well as residents is key to the program’s success, said Laura Ullrich, chair of the buy local campaign and an economics professor at Winthrop University.
The group looked at other “shop local” practices to see what might work in York County. It adopted the idea to encourage people to spend $20 on the 20th of each month, which group members estimate could pump another $4.5 million in the county’s economy.
To promote the “Buy Into It” campaign, the chamber is using social media such as Twitter and Facebook and has developed an app for smart phones which lists special buy local deals. To download the app go to www.yorkcountychamber.com/mobile.
Don Worthington 803-329-4066