A push to “shift spending” locally

Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-29 22:02:23-05

MILLCREEK -- In response to the Black Friday madness, Salt Lake County's mayor is urging people to rethink how they shop for the holidays, including spending more money locally.

"A dollar spent at a local store will often times be spent four times locally," Mayor Ben McAdams told reporters.

The mayor held a news conference Friday at The Old Flamingo Boutique to encourage people to "Shift Your Spending" from national chains to local businesses. The group Local First Utah said that if every household in Utah spent 10 percent of their holiday budget at local stores, $1.3 billion would stay in the state's economy.

"Four times as much of the money spent here at a local business stays here," said Nan Seymour, the director of Local First Utah. "It's creating jobs, returning tax dollars."

Local First Utah and Civic Economics conducted a survey of local businesses in Ogden, Salt Lake City and Wayne County. They found that nearly 55 percent of the money made by a local shop stays within the local economy -- compared to nearly 14 percent of money made by a national chain store.

The group also claimed that local restaurants surveyed reported spending 70 percent of their money locally, versus 30 percent for a national chain restaurant.

Where local stores once faced threats from chains moving in, Betsy Burton of the King's English Book Shop said they now face a common threat: the Internet.

"The Internet leaves nothing behind," she said. "They take everything. The only thing they leave behind in Utah is a part-time wage for a UPS driver."

Local First Utah insists it is not telling people to boycott chains -- but think about spending more money at smaller, local shops.

"We're local first, not local only," Seymore told FOX 13 News. "We believe there's room for everyone in the economy, but we are very mindful and we want to share the message that money spent locally has a greater return."

After Black Friday, the group is encouraging people to get behind "Small Business Saturday" and shop local businesses. A list of participating local stores can be found here.

"The more we voe with our dollars in favor of local, the more impact it has," Seymore said. "It's that simple."