It has begun. Not the holiday season — that’s still officially one week away — but rather Boulder Weekly’s Buy Local Month, part of our year-round I Love Local campaign. Starting this week, Boulder Weekly urges you to shop conscientiously for holiday food and gifts by choosing to spend your hard-earned dollars at locally owned businesses.
When you spend your holiday dollars at local businesses instead of national chains, your money stays in the community, helping to preserve jobs and strengthening the local economy by enabling independent, local businesses to thrive and grow.
Does it make a difference? Absolutely, it does. Although retail sales overall plunged almost 10 percent over the 2008 holiday season, researchers found that independent retailers in cities with buy-local campaigns saw sales drop an average of just 3 percent from the previous year, proving that habits can change and that people do care about local businesses.
“From each dollar spent at a local independent merchant, three or more times as much typically goes back into the local economy compared to a dollar spent at a chain-owned business,” said Jeff Milchen, co-founder of Boulder Independent Business Alliance and American Independent Business Alliance.
So what can you do? First, go to our website at www.ilovelocalboulder.com, and sign the online Buy Local Pledge, affirming your intent to spend a certain amount of your holiday budget at businesses owned by your Boulder County neighbors. You can also become a fan of I Love Local on Facebook, joining hundreds of other county residents in declaring your support of the local business community. Then spend some time thinking about the people on your gift list and planning out your holiday shopping to include independent, local businesses.
After completing your obligation, you become eligible for prizes that will be given throughout the holiday season. Boulder Weekly will track how many dollars are spent locally as a result of the pledge campaign and will publish the results and winners on our website and in the weekly print edition.
It’s our goal to have the community spend $100,000 at locally owned businesses and to increase awareness of the importance of supporting the local economy. To jump-start this effort, we present our Buy Local edition, intended to help you plan your holiday shopping around local businesses. This week and throughout the holiday season, our gift guides will offer up lots of good ideas for thoughtful holiday gift-giving that will keep your hard-earned dollars in Boulder County, rather than sending them to out-of-state corporate coffers. A thriving local economy — that’s enough to make anyone’s holiday bright.