A push to spend more money at local stores this holiday season

Posted at 2:59 PM, Nov 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-28 00:13:50-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams perused the shelves of the market inside Paletti's on Highland Drive, picking out some food products to purchase.

All of the items were made here in Utah, and the mayor is encouraging people to shop more at local stores this holiday season.

"We're all going to make purchases on the Internet. We're all going to shop at some of the national chains, but try to make a conscious decision to shift 10-percent of your spending to local businesses," McAdams said.

The group Local First Utah said a 2013 study it conducted found that if people shifted 10-percent of their holiday spending to locally owned businesses, an estimated $108 million would stay in the state. If they did it year round, it would be nearly $1.3 billion.

"Four times more money stays in Utah's economy when it's spent with a locally-owned business," said Kristen Lavelett, the executive director of Local First Utah.

Local businesses are facing competition from big box stores and their Black Friday deals, as well as online retailers. McAdams acknowledged even the national chains hire locally.

"Sure they're going to hire local people and they're paying -- oftentimes -- a minimum wage or just above minimum wage, and that's staying local, but the profits are leaving the state and they go up the food chain and leave Utah," he said.

Paletti co-owner Carol Elliott said she faces more competition from online sites, but said she tries to offer what they can't -- a human touch.

"We have instant gratification," she said. "We also know our customers very well. We know their likes and dislikes."

Local First Utah maintains a directory of locally-owned businesses. You can access it here.