Consumers urged to ‘shift’ shopping habits

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Submitted to the Optic

Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance’s Cross the Bridge holiday shop-local promotion isn’t new.

Beginning Nov. 1, through Dec. 24, shoppers who accumulate $50 in purchases across participating LVFIBA merchants are eligible to be entered into a random drawing for cash prizes. (See page C6 for details).

What’s new this year is a simultaneous campaign to challenge shoppers to “Shift Your Shopping.”

According to LVF President Tito Chavez, “Shift Your Shopping is a logical extension of Cross the Bridge,” and is an important message that emerged from the results of a survey that the business organization commissioned last year.

The Indie Impact Study, underwritten by Community 1st Bank, Southwest Capital Bank, and the American Booksellers Association, was a survey of 11 Las Vegas storefront retailers. Collectively these businesses were found to return a total of 47.5 percent of their total revenue to the local economy, compared to a return of 13.6 percent for national chains to the local markets that host their stores.  

“This is great information, and the first time we have data specific to Las Vegas,” Chavez said.

While that trend was not surprising according to Nancy Colalillo, whose bookstore Tome on the Range enabled LVF’s participation in the study, the implications were. Per the 2007 Economic Census — taken every  five years by the US Census Bureau — San Miguel County produces annual retail store sales of about $133 million, exclusive of motor vehicles and gas stations. A market shift of 10 percent from chains to independent retailers, such as those surveyed in the study, would retain an additional $4.5 million in the San Miguel County economy every year.  That translates into more local jobs, extra tax revenue for local governments, greater choice for customers and enhanced support for local non-profits.

“That’s huge,” said Colalillo, “and it makes very clear the impact that every local consumer can have on our local economy by shopping locally and indie. Plus, it underscores the importance of shopping in San Miguel County, as opposed to the internet or even Santa Fe.”

Hence Shift Your Shopping. “We’re not asking customers to buy more, but instead to make an effort to spend 10 percent more of their dollars in local, indie businesses,” Chavez stressed.  “The message is an easy one to remember,” he continued, “when making a purchase, just think about shopping in Las Vegas first.”