Taking up Local First Arizona's Shift Local Program challenge has paid off for Gateway Bank in Mesa and the law offices of Jaburg Wilk. Besides cost savings, the switch to local vendors has increased their visibility in the community as well as their customer base.
According to James Christensen, President of Gateway Bank in Mesa, "After a little prodding from Kimber Lanning, I compared local vendors' prices to our out of state vendors' prices. I realized that nearly everything could be purchased for less or about the same. That discovery plus the elimination of shipping or mailing costs, made the decision easy." Gateway Bank has shifted 10% of their purchases to community owned businesses and plan on shifting even more over the next year.
The Law Offices of Jaburg Wilk kicked off their firm's switch on Bosses Day. According to Brenda Edwards, "We ordered gift baskets from Phoenix Urban Market, who filled them with Arizona grown fresh produce and Arizona produced wine. Everyone raved about the extraordinary variety and quality of the produce. They wanted to know where to purchase the gifts!" Jaburg Wilk has almost reached their 10% goal, but they continually educate others on the value of doing business locally.
Both Gateway Bank and the Law Offices of Jaburg Wilk praise the networking value when buying locally. "By shifting our business, local vendors have begun to bank with us, " says James Christensen, "so it is definitely a winning situation for us." Brenda Edwards agrees, "When we buy from a local vendor, that vendor will remember us when in need of an attorney."
Kimber Lanning, Director of Local First Arizona, believes that these small shifts in purchasing can add up to a huge positive impact on our economy. Lanning cites a study done in Grand Rapids in 2008 that clearly demonstrated a single community of 600,000 people shifting just 10% of their spending would create an additional $130 million dollars circulating within the community, as well as 1,600 brand new jobs. "It all adds up," she says, "when businesses begin shifting their sourcing to other local businesses, enormous gains can be made for Arizona."