As the holiday shopping season kicked off Friday, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams encouraged county residents to spend more of their money at locally owned businesses.
McAdams joined leaders of Local First Utah to launch the nonprofit's "Shift Your Spending" campaign. It calls on shoppers to shift 10 percent of their holiday spending to independent, locally owned businesses.
Just that small share would save Utah from having $1.3 billion "leave quietly in nightly deposits" when national chains transfer daily profits to corporate headquarters out-of-state, said Local First Executive Director Nan Seymour.
"Remotely controlled business lacks kindness," she added, exhorting anyone who believes in the buy-local concept to promote the cause far and wide. "The movement depends on enthusiasm and spreading the message."
Having McAdams' support helps.
"We're not asking people to end their shopping at national chains," the Democratic mayor said, just requesting they concentrate on spending more of their money at homegrown businesses.
"When consumers buy locally, up to four times more money stays in the community than when they spend the same dollars with non-local businesses," he said.
Beyond the financial benefits, McAdams added, shops supported by local spending add "character and prosperity" to neighborhoods and broader communities. Since most buy their products locally, less transportation is involved, which means less air pollution. Customer service is better as well, McAdams said.
"By shopping and frequenting local businesses, you'll benefit friends, neighbors and the local economy," he concluded.
Shauna Barrett, owner of The Old Flamingo, said support from local patrons makes it possible for her to "hunt, gather and search the valley for a few good finds."
"I encourage the local community to share the things we've found," she added.
Lisa Wise, who runs a custom cabinet-making company in Ogden with her husband, is starting up a Local First Utah group in Davis County, where she lives.
In the two years Wise Cabinetry has been part of the movement, Wise said she's seen an increasing public awareness of the community value of local businesses.
"Once people understand, it makes a difference," she added. "We just need to keep educating people."
As part of the Indie First Movement's national effort Saturday to support independent bookstores, book-selection advice will be provided at Weller Book Works, 607 Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, by two local authors: Sara Zarr, a National Book Award finalist and writer of young-adult novels; and Julia Corbett, who wrote "Seven Summers: A Naturalist Homesteads in the Modern West."