In 2008, an effort to encourage shopping local brought some characters to life. I have to admit this was great fun, as it inspired our creativity, and with the help of Neil Hannum (graphic artist with then-Creative Conspiracy), Buck was born.
Buck’s quite an institution now, and you have seen him all over town in the years since he emerged as our Look Local First spokesperson. He’s the giant dollar bill with facial characteristics (and arms and legs) developed to encourage everyone to spend your “bucks” in La Plata County. After all, Buck and his family (Moolah, Penny, Cash and even Buckie the dog) don’t ever want to leave La Plata County.
This is one of the key times of year that people shop. We know not everything can be found here in La Plata County, and we know how easy it is to go online to buy those holiday gifts (and you are doing it in droves because the sales tax revenues from online shopping continue to increase dramatically, according to city sales tax records). But since Buck and his family were born, our mantra has been Look Local First.
Shopping local truly benefits our community – all of us – through what’s called the “multiplier effect.” Not only does local sales tax go into the city and county coffers to help fund our infrastructure, recreation and more, it helps provide a livelihood for our local residents. Think about it – if a local merchant has great retail traffic, they can hire more people, provide more jobs. These employees are able to live here, work more hours, earn more money and then they have “bucks” to spend in La Plata County, and the cycle builds on itself. Thus, the multiplier effect. Every dollar spent in a locally owned business is 48% more likely to recirculate.
Go, Buck, go!
This time of year, it’s always great to think about those who are in need. Buck and Moolah are very big into supporting our less-fortunate. When you’re shopping for holiday meal ingredients, buy an extra can of applesauce, pumpkin, green beans, a box of stuffing, whatever, and build a box for the Durango Food Bank. Anything we can contribute to the food bank will help those on really tight budgets make special holiday meals for their families. A few dollars added to your grocery tab goes a long way at the food bank. The Durango Food Bank is located at 194 Bodo Drive, Unit C.
Project Merry Christmas is also underway. This is an amazing, all-volunteer organization that has a mission to make Christmas special. PMC learns of families in need from school counselors and other service organizations, so gifts can be targeted to their needs. There’s an “Angel Tree” in the Durango Mall if you’d like to “shop” (it’s always fun to shop, but even more fun to know that you’re shopping for people who actually NEED what you’re purchasing).
Four Corners Broadcasting, American General Media and Rock Solid Radio stations are all helping various nonprofits with remotes all season long. Tune in to these stations and stop by their remotes and donate. Also, be sure and pick up your Be Local Coupon Book – they make great gifts all year long.
I could go on and on. We have such a generous community, and hey, we’re Christmas Town USA! Visit the chamber’s website, www.durangobusiness.org, for more information.
Happy holidays to all!
Jack Llewellyn is executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.