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“Buy Vinton” Aims To Keep It Local

A promotional flier helped kick off the Buy Local campaign in Vinton.

by Aaron Layman

A new initiative by the Town of Vinton aims to encourage shoppers to keep their business local when buying gifts this holiday season. The “Buy Vinton” campaign, which kicked off on November 27th with a special one-week push and the unveiling of its promotional poster, began as part of Mayor Brad Grose’s Partnership initiative. That comprehensive plan seeks to identify partnerships to create jobs, provide economic stimulus and connect citizens with resources. Buy Vinton brings together the Town of Vinton with the Vinton Chamber of Commerce for a multi-year program to educate the public and businesses about the benefits of buying local and keeping more dollars within the community.

Director of Economic Development Consuela Caudill says that she wanted to “do something to help our local businesses this holiday season… that spanned all the types of businesses we have in town.” She was familiar with other buy local programs and “wanted a different twist for Vinton.” Town officials have been visiting businesses for the past several weeks to let them know about the program and the promotional flier available.

The Chamber of Commerce’s role in the campaign involves marketing. They contacted all members of the chamber, urging them to participate and agree to send out any specials they may have as part of Buy Vinton in their email blasts. Vinton area citizens can subscribe to the Chamber’s Special Programs RSS feed to receive those messages.  Each active Vinton business holder also receives a searchable listing on the town’s website that directs shoppers to local businesses.

According to research by the national “buy local” resource, The 3/50 Project, for every $100 dollars spent at a locally owned store, $68 returns to the local community and tax base, $43 if spent at a non-local chain store or $0 returned if spent online at a non-local online merchant such as Amazon.

Caudill notes how buying local has other benefits such as keeping the “local flavor” in the shopping experience, reducing fossil fuel use and increasing community involvement from businesses. Local business owners, says Caudill, are more likely to get involved in the community when they are supported locally.

Vinton businesses that have promoted the Buy Local campaign range from local eateries like the Dogwood Restaurant, Nannie’s and the BBQ Grill to retail sources such as Woods Automotive Service, Vinton Appliance and Sweet Dreams Mattress Outlet. Even Danny Lugar of Edward Jones Investments has put up a flier in his window.

Patty Kiser of the local gift shop Two P’s in A Pod has the promotion affixed to her Washington Ave. shop’s front door. “It’s been really good so far. I’ve been trying to incorporate it into our Facebook page,” she says. Her participation has an extra local edge as she tries to work with as many area artists as possible to source the “primitive, vintage, handmades and shabby chic decor” items that she sells at her shop. Kiser rents vendor booths in her space to local craftspeople and, sourcing from within the town, works with a Vinton woodworker who makes handmade wooden bins and trash receptacles.

Caudill hopes to continue the focus on buying locally throughout the year and is optimistic about similar initiatives in the region: “I think many communities are seeing the value in helping to promote buying locally.  There are certainly already events like Field to Fork [a regional food networking event] that stress local sourcing for restaurants and farmer’s markets.  I think the concept as a whole will get more attention from everyone, especially as our economy struggles [to come] back.”

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