The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce's Local First campaign is the result of the work of a chamber subcommittee headed by Dr. David James, which had the goal of assisting small businesses of all types, but had a focus on assisting independent retail businesses. The campaign has three elements, each of which is critical to the overall goal.
The first and most visible is an educational effort to remind Valley residents how important it is that they patronize local businesses. From how much of a dollar spent in a locally owned business stays in the community to the maintenance and creation of local jobs, buying locally matters.
The message is reflected in the Local First graphic, which has been incorporated into the chamber's website and stationery and produced on bumper stickers. It will also appear on cards which will contain a QR code on the back. When scanned, the code will take consumers to the Hot Deals section of chamber web site, where they will find special offers and incentives from chamber member businesses.
The second area is a reinforcement of the importance of business to business commerce being done locally. It will revive the promises of the "We're Helping Our Local Economy" program, in which local businesses agree to purchase business supplies and services locally whenever possible, provide excellent customer service, offer the most competitive pricing possible and to patronize local businesses as consumers whenever possible. In the final area, the chamber is working with a number of entities, including the Business Council of Douglas County, county staff and others to encourage local government, from the county to the school district to the towns and general improvement districts to make it a priority to spend their dollars locally whenever possible. Preliminary discussions are ongoing, and the early feedback has been very positive.
Local First is the chamber's first priority in the 2012-13 year. It is likely to stay that way beyond that, as it is the best way possible for us to expend our efforts to support our member businesses.
Bill Chernock is executive director of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.