7 Shop Local Ideas, 13 Colorado Communities
The holidays are just around the corner. Will your community members be shopping locally? Recent studies show that local businesses can generate as much as three times more economic activity than those big-box retailers, which means more money recirculating back into the community.You need look no further than your neighboring towns to see how Colorado communities of all sizes are building successful Shop Local campaigns.1. Create a Shop Local logo or slogan to reinforce shopping in your community. Anyone can say “Shop local,” but how do you remind consumers to shop local in your community? Many cities have had success with creating customized logos and slogans:Colorado Springs: There is only one DowntownBoulder: Love the LocalParker: Go to TownBrush!: Don’t Rush through Brush!2. Develop an online business directory for your downtown. Check out Monument and Steamboat Springs for inspiration.3. Design a printed directory for your downtown and distribute it. It’s important to have an online directory, but for those who are wandering through downtown, a printed guide can be a big help to encourage shopping. Many downtowns also build a large downtown directory, similar to what one might see in a mall. Check out Denver’s Old South Pearl Street guide for a good example.4. Provide local businesses and merchants with helpful resources. Help your businesses to help themselves by providing a guide to local resources for both new and current business owners. Granby has recently created a “Doing Business in Granby” guide and Boulder’s business improvement district, Downtown Boulder, Inc., offers an online guide to Marketing Solutions for Downtown Businesses. The City of Longmont developed the Longmong Economic Gardening Initiative in 2006 to provide counseling and services to small businesses.5. Host downtown events that encourage patronage and reinforce the habit of coming downtown. Psychologists say you must do something 28 times before it becomes habit. Help locals to learn this behavior by holding events that will encourage them to patronize downtown retailers and restaurants. Fruita hosts a hometown Cowboy Christmas Shopping & Weekend Festivities event in November and Steamboat Springs launched their first-ever Sisters in Steamboat weekend this past October to encourage female bonding downtown. Farmers markets and Friday Art Walks are other popular events in many Colorado communities.6. Educate consumers on shopping local. Shopping local is frequently becoming an ethical decision for consumers who want to reinvest in their communities. Teach people the benefits of voting with their dollars locally by educating them on how shopping locally positively impacts their community. Both Golden and Boulder have created online web pages to do just this.7. Build loyalty through local coupon books and gift certificate programs. Loyalty programs are everywhere these days and for good reason. You can create your own loyal following by offering benefits through coupons, gift certificates, or frequent shopper programs geared toward downtown stores. La Plata County created a Be Local coupon book of local retailers. The Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership has created a Downtown Colorado Springs gift card in varying denominations that is accepted in more than 100 local retailers. Carbondale is currently holding a drawing for an electric car; shoppers receive a ticket when they shop at one of 200 participating Carbondale businesses.