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Arlington kicks off ‘Buy Local’ campaign
ARLINGTON — Michael Prihoda is hoping that a small logo will take off in Arlington.
“We want to start seeing it showing up,” said Prihoda, executive director of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce. “Some businesses already have it. As soon as it starts cropping up, other businesses will join us.”
But it’s not just a logo that organizers want to catch on.
Prihoda, as well as representatives from the city of Arlington and the Downtown Arlington Business Association, or DABA, are in the process of launching a city-wide “Buy Local” campaign to encourage customers to do their shopping within the city limits.
The three entities officially announced their joint effort at the May 11 chamber luncheon.
“There are many benefits,” said David Kuhl, community development director for the city of Arlington. “The sales tax stays in town, which can help build parks and hire firefighters. We know you make shopping decisions every day. We want to encourage you to stay and shop local and hopefully we can get things turned around.”
Prihoda said planning for Arlington’s Buy Local campaign began in March in wake of a national effort to get residents to spend money where they reside.
“People get stuck in their habits,” he said. “As people become more aware of where many organic foods and beef come from, they’ll realize that we have a lot of that right here.”
Organizers used Marysville’s Buy Local program as a guide, Prihoda said. The Marysville program kicked off in August of 2009.
Caldie Rogers, Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, said during a May 18 visit from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen that the city’s Buy Local campaign has helped slow retail decline when compared to the Snohomish County average.
“They’ve been a very successful program in less than a year’s time,” Prihoda said.
Prihoda said he’s hoping that the three local agencies can help bring similar results to Arlington.
Buy Local organizers have spent the past couple of weeks preparing merchant kits, which contain promotional materials and logos that businesses can use on their invoices or hang in their windows, for example.
DABA President Mary Anderson told chamber members May 11 that businesses are being encouraged to exercise creativity with the kits, as well as with the Buy Local logo.
“We want you to put it on your invoices, in your store windows, everywhere,” she said. “You can also educate your staff and customers. Hearing an employee say ‘Thank you for shopping local’ is really powerful.”
In addition to kits, local shopping supporters are also working on getting signage to display on roads and highways leading into Arlington.
Kuhl said that organizers will also be speaking at various community groups and functions to spread the word about the new program.
For more information about the campaign, visit the chamber website at www.arlington-smokeypointchamber.com.