Toledo attorney Kyle Cubbon admits she used to do almost all her holiday shopping online, never thinking that her purchases did not benefit her community as she wished.
“Then the lights turned on for me. I haven’t ordered anything online for the last three or four years,” she said.
Toledo Choose Local, a nonprofit organization that Ms. Cubbon now leads, plans to kick off its annual “Shift Your Shopping” campaign tonight during the Arts Commission’s Holiday Loop. The idea: spend at least some of your shopping dollars this holiday season at locally owned, independent businesses.
“We’re asking that people take a few of their holiday dollars and shift them from a big box or nonlocal store — just make a small shift,” Ms. Cubbon said. “That gets them into the store and lets them see that we do have a vibrant, independent market here.”
The group hopes shoppers will appreciate the personal touch and return to do business with local stores time and again; feeding into the message that shopping local helps keep local entrepreneurs in business, helps keep local people employed, and generates local tax revenue.
Andy Dempster, manager/owner of MacCafe on Talmadge Road, which sells iPads, iPods, and other Apple products, says it’s a message that bears repeating. “As I tell people when they say, ‘I can buy it online and I’ll even save sales tax,’ I say, ‘Hopefully you can get your police and fire protection online, too, because that’s where your tax dollars are going,’” he said.
He said buying local helps the community but benefits customers too. The majority of his customers walk through the door with tech questions.
“I call it the lapel factor,” Mr. Dempster said. “You’ve got someone whose lapels you can grab onto when you’re having an issue.”
Alia Orra, who leads the education committee for Toledo Choose Local, said people would be surprised by the variety of locally owned businesses, some of which offer high-end merchandise that’s hard to find elsewhere.
“Meig in Perrysburg is a really beautiful retail store where you can get jewelry, accessories, or an outfit you might have had to go to a Web site to order to get that quality of a fashion item,” she said. “I prefer to be able to touch things and see them especially when I’m buying a gift.”
Toledo Choose Local plans to have maps on its Web site, toledochooselocal.org, to help shoppers support local businesses.
While many of the stores are small, not all are. The Andersons is a member of Toledo Choose Local.
“They’re a wonderful example,” Ms. Cubbon said. “Sometimes people think if it’s local I can’t get a better deal or I can’t get a better product. That’s not always true. The Andersons competes quite well with the big box stores.”
The “Shift Your Shopping” campaign, which runs through Dec. 24, will kick off at 6:30 p.m. today at 610 Adams St., where some vendors will be setting up shop for the evening.
The kickoff is planned in conjunction with the Arts Commission’s Holiday Loop, which encourages visitors to buy local artsy gifts at 30 galleries, studios, and cafes in and around downtown Toledo. Free shuttle buses will travel two routes from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Go to artscommission.org for more information.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6129.