Houston’s shop local is a great initiative

Coming to Houston this fall until spring 2017 is a shop local initiative, where $10,000 will be recirculated into businesses

Coming to Houston this fall until spring 2017 is a shop local initiative, where $10,000 will be recirculated into businesses inHouston through its residents.

This is a Houston & District Chamber of Commerce program, where weekly draws will take place for residents to win Houston merchant gift certificates.

The intention of this program is to not only encourage and aid the community until a new grocery store opens, but to also educate the public on how shopping local affects and supports everyone in Houston.

Buying local ensures that employers can pay their employees, which in turn allows these employees to provide amenities to their families, from healthy meals to equipment for sports and other recreational activities.

But it also allows for business owners to make donations to the very clubs and organizations we and the children of this community are apart of. Without our contribution of buying local, business owners can’t make these donations.

According to Love Northern B.C., for every $100 spent locally, up to $75 stays in our community, compared to just $13 when spent at a big box or chain store.

Love Houston B.C. is another shop local program that the chamber oversees along with Northern Development InitiativeTrust. It is a website and facebook page that promotes independently owned, non-franchise businesses.

Another local shop program that the chamber has is the Houston merchant dollars.

“They are a huge success because of the buy in from the community. Citizens, clubs and organizations, businesses,contractors, they all participate. In 2015, we sold $90,546 worth of certificates that stayed in this community and can only be used at participating merchants,” commented Maureen Czirfusz, manager of the Houston & District Chamber ofCommerce.

In 2010, when the Houston Merchant Dollars program started, $15,000 worth of certificates were sold. The big jump was surprisingly the year Houston Forest Products (HFP) shut down in 2013, where $71,000 was sold and invested back into the community.

Experts told Czirfusz to expect a decrease the following year of HFP’s closure, but it has only gone up since.

“People’s mindsets shifted. [Their] whole shopping changed,” commented Czirfusz.

With bigs losses comes big change. Whether intentional or subconscious, the community shifted in a way to compensate forits loss of residents, employment and economic revenue.

These programs are meant to fortify and encourage this shift in mindset. Buy local, so your businesses can buy back into you.