Shoppers urged to buy local

Posted at 11:17 PM, Nov 23, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-24 01:20:39-05

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and Mayor-elect Ben McAdams teamed up on Black Friday to talk about an initiative aimed at getting residents to think of local businesses when planning holiday shopping.

According to a group called Local First, if every household in Salt Lake County spent 10 percent of their holiday budgets on local businesses, more than $487 million would stay in the Utah economy.

"We also love local businesses because they help build our communities. Our communities are defined by these local businesses. They create a sense of place. They also create a sense of community where people can come and gather together," Corroon said.

Another effort to encourage local spending happens over the weekend. "Small Business Saturday," a retail holiday conceived in 2010, acts as the small business counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Jay Yahne, who started a winery in Layton less than two years ago, says he is now seeing slow and steady growth in his small business. Yahne said part of his success comes from belonging to groups like Local First and the Vest Pocket Business Coalition.

"I'm a firm believer in buy local for local jobs," Yahne said.

Marci Rasmussen is another local business owner. She founded Especially for You, a Salt Lake City flower shop, in 1987. Rasmussen believes in the power of local businesses to influence the local economy.

"A big group of small businesses is just as strong as a big box," Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen says her business has taken a stronghold in the local flower market over the last six to seven years.

Another example of a local business that has flourished recently is Lucky Slice Pizza in Ogden. The restaurant is part of the transformation of 25th Street and features fresh-made, hand-tossed pies and a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

"We took a big risk. I mean, a lot of people told us Ogden wouldn't support us and that it wasn't a good [...] location to open a business," said Will Shafer, co-owner of Lucky Slice Pizza. "We thought otherwise and we've proven everybody wrong. Ogden supported us."

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