Chambers of commerce across the region are teaming up to launch a multimedia campaign telling consumers "It Pays to Buy Local."
"It's all about educating the public about the importance of buying locally versus at a big box store or online," said Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sue Reed.
In all, 17 Northwest Indiana chambers of commerce have signed on so far to be part of the "It Pays to Buy Local" campaign, Reed said. NIPSCO, signaling its support for local business, is an additional sponsor.
The chambers will be acting in concert with the Times Media Co. to get their message out.
"This is a mega, multimedia promotional campaign that will promote the benefits to consumers of buying local from chamber member businesses," said Lisa Daugherty, Times Media Co. advertising director.
Consumers will see distinctive "It Pays to Buy Local" window decals and posters at participating businesses. For 26 weeks, advertisements for the campaign will run in The Times and at nwi.com.
The campaign was inspired by other buy local campaigns such as The 3/50 Project and the American Express Shop Small campaign, Daugherty said. The One Region Initiative, which has urged cooperation among local government, businesses and communities, also served as an inspiration, Daugherty said. The Northwest Indiana Chambers of Commerce Council has embraced the campaign.
The 3/50 Project has released a study showing that $68 out of every $100 spend at a local business stays in the community, Daugherty said. That compares to $43 out of every $100 spent at a national chain. And when consumers go to national online retailers, nothing stays in the community.
"Communities that have these type of buy local initiatives do see increased traffic, new customers and increased sales for their businesses," Daugherty said.
Reed said individual chambers have been urging their members and consumers to buy local for years. But chambers now realize they need to spread a consistent, region-wide message on the issue.
"It's not like if you live in Dyer you will be doing all your shopping in Dyer," Reed said. "You buy throughout the region."
In addition to Crossroads Regional, chambers participating are Valparaiso, Duneland, Lakeshore, Schererville, Griffith, Whiting, Highland, Hobart, Gary, Munster, St. John, Cedar Lake, Dyer, Lake Station, Lowell, and Portage.