Buy Local

March 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Joaquin Valley business leaders are pushing a new unified message to buy local. It's an effort to protect jobs and keep tax dollars local. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
www.whyibuylocal.com
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It was a day at the mall for the Kuehne family and when it comes to shopping, they stay close to home. "For the most part we shop local. We try to shop with the local shops, local owners," said Josh Kuehne.

That's music to the ears of business leaders representing the six counties in the San Joaquin Valley. They held a press conference at the Fashion Fair Mall in Fresno to launch their new buy local campaign.

"We want to encourage people, if you're going to buy, buy local," said Al Smith with the Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce.

The main argument to buy local is keeping sales tax revenue in the community to help protect jobs and support services like police and fire protection, education and street maintenance. Business leaders claim shopping out of town, or even online, damages the local quality of life.

Fashion Fair Mall has a big, empty reminder of the tough economy right out front. Home furnishings store Z-Gallerie closed March 14th. 24 other Z-Galleries across the nation also closed.

The general manager of fashion fair mall, Mo Bagunu said Fresno has actually fared well compared to the rest of the nation. "Where we've seen double digit decreases across the board we are only in the single digits here in Fresno."

Bagunu said apparel, jewelry and home furnishings stores have been hit the hardest, but his food and restaurants and general merchandise sales are actually up year to year.

Business leaders say for every $100-dollars spent locally, $45 of it stays in the community.

The ad campaign officially kicks off Thursday. They've also kicked off their website: www.whyibuylocal.com

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