In an effort to jolt the state’s economy back to life, Local First Arizona is encouraging Arizonans to shift 10 percent of their purchases to local businesses.
Ten percent might not seem like a lot, but when even a small amount is fed into a local economy, it can grow exponentially. The shift can be made anywhere from banking, food, products or services.
This year-long campaign, called Shift Arizona, is modeled after an economic impact study performed in Grand Rapids, Mich. The study showed that a 10 percent shift by all residents would create 1,600 new jobs, local wages would increase by $50 million and $130 million would be fed into the local economy.
This study is driving Shift Arizona to strengthen Arizona’s economy and foster civic pride along the way.
“A vibrant, robust local business community is what I look forward to,” as a result of Shift Arizona, says Adam Goodman, president of Goodman’s Interior Structures and a Local First Arizona member.
Taking part in Shift Arizona isn’t only about shopping at local boutiques, it’s about buying locally made products and purchasing services provided by locally owned companies, says Kimber Lanning, founder and director of Local First Arizona.
Lanning suggests making a few simple shifts, such as dining at local restaurants, frequenting local theaters, or stopping at a local coffee shop every fifth time you grab a cup of joe — she understands that Starbucks habit is tough to break.
Local First Arizona’s website provides a list of locally owned businesses to help make your transition easier.
However, buying local doesn’t mean completely changing your routine, Lanning says. Many chain stores, such as Target and Walmart, stock Arizona-made products like Shamrock Farms, China Mist teas and Hickman’s eggs, Lanning says.
Local companies care about and support other local organizations, charities and businesses, while a national company will support the local businesses near its headquarters, Goodman says.
Buying local will affect much more than just that one business; it will create spending throughout the community, Goodman says. He adds that his own business is looking at what it can do to spend more money locally.
Shift Arizona also is dispelling the myth that local stores are more expensive than national chains, Lanning says. Oil changes and pet food are often cheaper at local stores, she says.
In a continuingly tough economic climate, Shift Arizona is championing using your wallet as you would use your vote.
“We’re at a point in time where the discussion amongst our elected officials revolves around whether we want our taxes raised or our services cut, but in reality, through our purchasing power, citizens can grow the economy without spending any more money,” Lanning says. “We just need to make our money shift to a more locally based economy.”
Lanning says Arizonans can boost the economy not by spending more money, but by spending their money a little more thoughtfully.