Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and local business owners gathered in Fountain Square Mall on Monday to celebrate the beginning of a campaign to encourage shoppers to shift at least ten-percent of their holiday purchases to local businesses.
Executive Director of Economic and Sustainable Development for Bloomington, Danise Alano, says numerous organizations are working together to promote the importance of keeping shopping dollars in the local community.
“Today we launched a campaign called ‘I Buy Bloomington,’ and it’s a promotional campaign aimed at businesses and citizens of Bloomington, as well as visitors, to let them know that there’s a lot of unique Bloomington stores, products, services that they can purchase,” says Alano.
“We’re wanting to let consumers know that thinking locally is very important. That thinking about Bloomington purchases especially has an impact on the economy and we want to encourage that, especially at this time during the holidays.”
Alano says collaboration between the city and the groups Downtown Bloomington Inc., Local First and the Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association has benefited the area’s economy. The City of Bloomington gave a $3,000 grant to DBI to aid its marketing campaign, while Local First and BIRA both received $1,000 grants.
Local business owner David Baas of Roadworthy Guitar and Amp agrees that supporting local stores helps maintain the quality of the community.
“Locally owned businesses are what really give a community its texture,” says Baas. “So it’s very important if you don’t want to become the homogenized corporatized community that many parts of many American cities are now.”
While it may not be as convenient as shopping online, local store and restaurant owners say there is a lot more to gain from a local purchase.
“Almost invariably the service is going to be of a higher quality and more personal when you get to a locally owned business,” adds Baas. “It’s smaller, it’s easier, and the person that owns the business is looking at his neighbor.”