Chamber/Bureau urges ‘Buy Local’
July 18, 2007
A few misconceptions swirl around local shopping.
One of them, the Park City Chamber/Bureau said, is Park City stuff costs too much.
"There’s always a perception that items are cheaper out of Park City," said Kristin Carpenter, the director of member services for the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
To change that opinion, the Chamber/Bureau started the Buy Local campaign.
"It’s meant to educate about the goods and services in Park City," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said many people in Summit County don’t realize what local businesses have to offer, and they drive down Interstate 80 ignorantly. The Chamber/Bureau estimates about 50 percent of Park City residents travel to the Wasatch Front on a daily basis for work or shopping, she said.
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"People will go to Salt Lake and think they are getting some deal over the places in (Park City)," said Scott Ford, a buyer for Cole Sport. "There is that perception that things in town are more expensive."
Ford said it costs more to live and operate a business locally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the prices will be higher.
"It’s not going to be that much different from what we carry down there," Ford said. "People will go down there, to other places, just because they think they are getting a better deal, which they’re not. We are as competitive or more competitive than people in the valley."
Carpenter said a lot of people make the trip down Parley’s to shop at REI without perusing the shelves of Cole Sport, Jans Mountain Outfitters or White Pine Touring.
She said people should check first to see if the product is in town.
"Find out if it is carried here, and the (local store) might even match the price, and you’ve kept your dollars in Park City," Carpenter said.
That’s the main point of the campaign, to recycle Summit County dollars, she said.
"When you buy locally, you are generating sales-tax dollars, infrastructure, trail maintenance, beautification projects and free transit system, among others," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the Buy Local campaign is not meant to be a guilt trip for residents, but a reminder to keep money in Summit County if possible.
The Chamber/Bureau worked with Flashpoint, a local advertising agency, and a committee of Tom Sly, Karen Dallett and Ken Davis to develop the campaign.
The boosters plan to run ads, make bumper stickers and give other material to local merchants.
"We’re in the early stages of this campaign, and we’re also looking at an online component that we will be launching in the next couple months," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the main goal of Buy Local is to drive more business to Summit County merchants.
"I don’t know if anyone has really taken the time to educate on the importance of keeping your dollars local," Carpenter said, "instead of having your money benefiting other communities."
Park City Councilor Candy Erickson said she brought up similar ideas before and praises the Chamber/Bureau.
"I’m thrilled the Chamber is doing it, it’s wonderful," Erickson said.
When Ford heard of the campaign, it made him scratch his head. He said it seems like common sense for people to shop locally.
"It was one of the things that it made me sit back and made me think, ‘We have to do a campaign like this?’" Ford said. "You would think that people would want to check out their local shop first."
Ford, however, understands "the world we live in," where people are used to going to large chain stores to find lots of choices at low prices. But the benefit to the community outweighs any small gains found at larger stores in other communities, he said.
"We support all sorts of local causes," Ford said. "We overlook the fact that a lot of those causes are funded and supported by people in this community that own businesses here. It’s a difficult game. In retail we are so vulnerable."
As a result of the campaign, Ford hopes to get advice from consumers.
"If there is something the community would want that we don’t have, that would be great to get feedback," Ford said.
Ford said it "would be great as a retailer to know why people aren’t shopping here."
"To me, it makes common sense to shop here," he continued. "I can’t imagine that people would not have a reason to shop somewhere closer."