Impact of Buy Local campaign trickles down to community
Local businesses ended 2013 on a high note thanks in large part to Thomasville citizens spending their money in the Chair City.
At the beginning of the holiday shopping season, the Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce launched its annual Buy Local campaign to encourage people to spend money within the community. While official statistics for 2013 won’t be available for several weeks, Davidson County in 2012 saw a 3.9 percent increase in retail sales, resulting in millions of dollars staying in the area.
“We feel very positive about it,” said Chamber President Doug Croft. “We did our best to reinforce the local shopping message. We wanted to remind folks that there are plenty of places to shop right here and the value of it and what it means to Thomasville businesses and local jobs.”
A free downloadable application for smart phones called MychamberApp helped citizens find places to eat, shop and other professional services. Buy Local billboards and posters throughout the city provided holiday shoppers with constant reminders that spending money in town helps the community in a variety of ways.
“Once we see the new numbers hopefully they will show the same trend,” Croft said. “If you just shop at a local store you’re helping a local job. That’s in your control. You help make the difference. It’s in our hands as citizens.
“You can order stuff online and everybody does. We’re not unrealistic about that. I know every time I send a check to Amazon they’re not putting anything in Thomasville, North Carolina. We want to reinforce the message that Thomasville businesses are really trying to do their best.”
Heather Lewis, owner of Avis Fine Jewelry on Randolph Street, said her business had a very good holiday season and the end result is that she can donate more money to local charities like Communities In Schools of Thomasville.
“We did very well,” said Lewis. “We’re very thankful that people supported shopping local.
I think a lot of people took it to heart this year and tried to stay local. It helps us be able to do more for local charities and help our town. I’m just very thankful people came out and shopped.”
Downtown businesses reported plenty of foot traffic on Main Street during the holidays.
Monkeez Brew has carved out a niche as a place for holiday shoppers to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season with a warm latte or fresh coffee. Despite the tragedy of losing its owner Mindi Swaney on Christmas morning, family friend Diane Huskey said Monkeez Brew received enough support from the community to weather a very difficult time.
“Because of our tragedy we were not going to open [Dec. 27] but people wanted us to,” Huskey said. “We were slammed all day. It was kind of a healing process. A lot of people, our Monkeez Brew family, felt they had to come in.
“We did really well. The parking lot was always full and I think a lot of people tried to shop locally. We’ve been trying to promote that and I think a lot of people did.”
Gloria Brinkley, owner of Maggie D’s Cottage located next door to Monkeez Brew, felt her business had a successful holiday season and more could be done to attract shoppers to Main Street.
“For the size of my little business, I was pleased,” said Brinkley. “I think it would help to have three or four or five businesses together [on Main Street]. It would make it more worthwhile to come downtown to shop.”
A concerted effort by citizens to spend their money in Thomasville in 2014 will play a large role in helping the local economy maintain its momentum beyond the holiday season.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.