My Turn: Buying local – it starts with attitude | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Buying local – it starts with attitude

Cheri Sprenger
My Turn

Recently, the North Tahoe Business Association (NTBA) hosted a gathering of business owners and North Tahoe business associations to discuss holiday plans and brainstorm ideas for Buy Local programs. Business owners and organization leaders from Incline Village to Kings Beach to Tahoe City, including representatives from the Tahoe City Downtown Association (TCDA), the Incline Community Business Association (ICBA) and the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce attended the meeting held at Steamers in Kings Beach.

After reports on the Holiday Contest organized last year and idea sharing about other programs the conversation took a turn.

Buying local is truly a mindset, is it not? The question was asked: where do you go to buy wine – Safeway or Spirits of Tahoe or Corkscrews? Do you buy your groceries at Village Market? If you shop in Reno or Carson City, why? Are the items you drove for available here? That’s when it got interesting.

Buying local is truly an attitude, or a way of thinking, and something that may mean a big change to some of us. It is definitely something we all should sit down and think about for a bit.

There are many reasons for shopping locally: Increases sales tax revenue and helps conserve resources as residents and workers stay within the community; most new jobs are provided by local businesses (small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and provide the most new jobs to local residents). The benefits go on and on.

Communities are increasingly finding that saving a few bucks often comes at a very high price As the discussion continued, the group decided a great first step for North Lake Tahoe would be to educate our communities on the benefits of buying local and try to change a few habits. Enter The 3/50 Project.

NTBA, TCDA, ICBA and the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce are adopting The 3/50 Project. With a tag line “Save your local economy three stores at a time,” the Project’s goal is to promote shopping in locally owned businesses while thanking customers for the positive impact that decision has on local economy. In essence, the whole thing boils down to “Pick 3, spend 50, save the economy.” It’s really that simple.

Think about which three independently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

50: If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.*Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.

68: For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home

1: The number of people it takes to start the trend … you.

So, let’s start a trend in North Lake Tahoe. Think about what you would need the next time you are on Highway 80 on the way to Reno. Could you have found it in Tahoe? Did you do some price checking to see if it really is more expensive here? Could you have found something better to do with an hour than be in your car? Who was the last small business owner you met in Tahoe?

Local Tahoe business owners would be happy to meet you, and help you find whatever it is you are looking for – at a locally owned business in North Lake Tahoe!

For more information on The 3/50 Project and to sign up as a supporter, visit the website: http://www.the350project.net.

Cheri Sprenger is the executive director of the North Tahoe Business Association. For more information on The 3/50 Project people can contact Cheri at info@northtahoebusi ness.org or Justin at info@visittahoecity.com.