‘Shop local, buy local’ helps area’s economy

At your Homer Chamber of Commerce we’re always looking for ways to increase trade for all our members. We believe, for example, if Joe the Plumber does well, then Harold’s Hardware and Greg the Grocer will prosper too.

With the ease and convenience of Internet buying these days, why should you consider buying locally first?

Here are six great reasons to keep “shop local, buy local” as a priority in the way you do business and shop in Homer:

1. Build community: 

Those casual encounters you enjoy at locally owned businesses build relationships and community-minded attitudes. 

2. Strengthen our local economy:

This is a no-brainer. Keeping money in Homer and flowing through our home-grown businesses makes our economy more robust.

3. Create more good jobs: 

Local businesses provide jobs for the community they serve.

4. Invest in the community: 

Local business owners live in the community they serve, and support nonprofits and other organizations that have importance in the community.

5. Get better service: 

Local businesses hire locals who care about their products, their town and their customer care.

6. Shape our character: 

Independent, locally serving businesses help give our community its distinct personality.

That last reason is a biggie. We all are proud of Homer’s unique community character (I know I brag about it to my Anchorage friends). If those local businesses that have enjoyed longevity in town were to fail, who would we be as a community?

In 2014, the Homer chamber will begin a push to reignite our “shop local, buy local” campaign. We’ll continue with our Winter Shopping Derby that gives an incentive to buy local goods and services. The prize for the Shopping Derby this winter is $1,000 Homer Bucks, another “shop local, buy local” initiative that helps keep prize winnings circulating through our economy.

The shopping derby starts Nov.15 and runs through Feb. 7. The winner will be announced Feb. 11.

We are asking participating vendors to donate a gift certificate or prize worth between $25-$50. We need to collect 10 weekly prizes. 

We have some other ideas we’ll be working on, too. If you’d like to offer suggestions or comments, as always, I’m available to talk with you.

A head’s up: Our truck/ATV raffle drawing has been postponed until Dec. 10. To make sure we sell all our tickets the chamber will be open on Saturday and Sunday from noon-2 p.m.

My best to you all.

Jim Lavrakas is the executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce.