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Dawson chamber starts shop local campaign
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The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce has announced a stepped up effort to encourage county citizens to remember to shop local.


The recent Dawson County Chamber of Commerce leadership retreat included discussions about the stress being felt by local businesses due to the weak economy. 


“We are very concerned that many of our local businesses are hurting and need help.  Our organization needs to do whatever we can to supply that help,” said Mike Underwood, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors. 


The discussions led to a renewed “Shop Local” campaign. Shop Local was originally kicked off in 2008, but Linda Williams, president of the chamber, agreed that the program needed to be refreshed to address the current situation.


Williams noted that the greatest contribution citizens can make during these difficult times is to maximize their spending at our county businesses. 


The chamber board believes a considerable amount of spending still goes outside the county. Many citizens do not give much thought to the consequences for local businesses by not shopping locally.


Williams referred to a study by the Small Business Blog called the “3/50 Project” that found for every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 returns to the community in taxes, payrolls and other local expenditures.


For spending at national chains, $43 returns to the local community. 

If the $100 is spent online nothing comes back home.


The chamber will step up efforts to convince local residents and visitors to spend their money in Dawson County, as a first choice.


The effort will support and increase retail sales, business services and business-to-business spending. The program will help both chamber members and non-members. 


“When non members see what we’re trying to do and how it might benefit them, they will consider joining our organization to help promote all Dawson County businesses. A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s what we need to have happen with local spending,” said Williams.


The new campaign will feature the chamber’s well-known Scotty Dog —Dawson Says logo with the words: “Find it here! — Spend it here! — Buy it here!” 


The major elements of the program will include a series of press releases explaining the campaign and tracking its benefits and progress, plus temporary high profile signage and in-store decals to remind citizens that local business needs their support.


Another key element will be a set of special cooperative advertising opportunities and discount programs featured in the monthly Chamber Chronicle publication.


The chamber Web site has also been enhanced to help county citizens find local sources for the services and products they seek.


Underwood stated the campaign will be kicked off within the next few weeks.