Shop Local kick-off set for Tuesday

Published 4:52 pm Friday, July 5, 2013

Shop Local materials with the logo featured above will be available at the kick-off event on Tuesday, July 9 and after.

Shop Local materials with the logo featured above will be available at the kick-off event on Tuesday, July 9 and after.

Every person that spends money at a business in Chilton County over the next six months will be reinforcing a new “Shop Local” initiative designed to encourage residents to buy locally.

The Shop Local initiative will officially launch Tuesday, July 9 at 11 a.m. at the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce and will run through Dec. 31.

But Chamber Executive Director Mike Robertson and members of the initiative’s advisory team don’t want the countywide campaign for increased local commerce to end in December.

The idea behind “Shop Local” was simply to remind residents of the importance of spending their money within the county when possible and keeping much-needed tax dollars at home.

The six-month initiative covers two peak periods of commerce, back to school and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

“This effort is to remind them of the importance of shopping locally and encourage them to do just that—to spend their dollars here when they can,” Robertson said. “After all, it’s those tax dollars that pay for all the nice things we have that make it such a great place to live and to work.”

Tuesday’s event is free and open to the public.

Lunch will be provided by local restaurants and will serve as a sampling of what the eateries in Chilton County offer.

Chamber member Pam Price volunteered to coordinate restaurant donations and supply additional food as needed.

“We think that’s going to be a nice piece of this puzzle,” Robertson said. “We really want to have all these different foods in here that represent food merchants in the community. We’re hoping to have a very large crowd.”

The advisory team behind the initiative includes Peggy Hall with Realty South; Anne Taddicken, volunteer services manager at Gentiva Home Health; MorLyn’s owner Tommy Glasscock, Chilton County Commissioner Shannon Welch, Chamber Executive Assistant Brittani Ellison and Robertson.

They started planning the initiative in March and eventually distributed “Shop Local” marketing materials such as signs, banners, window clings, stickers and fliers, which will also be available throughout the initiative.

Robertson said billboards in Clanton, Jemison, Thorsby and Maplesville will be displayed soon.

“Within a couple weeks, we should have our billboards up,” Robertson said. “We have presented this initiative to all of the city and town councils and the county commission, and we’re hoping to have a good representation of those groups here, as well as our local merchants and chamber members.”

Robertson said the advisory team would measure the success of the initiative by feedback from local merchants and municipal leaders.

“I think what we really need to know is how well did we perform with this,” Robertson said. “If we get good results and think it’s the right thing to do, I suppose we do it again next year. It needs a good, thorough evaluation.”

So far, merchants have expressed positivity about the initiative’s potential in boosting local shopping, Robertson said.

“We think this is going to make a difference,” Robertson said. “We need to get this program out there for all businesses and merchants so folks think about all of them as they shop locally. We’re looking for a big day.”