Tis the Season to be Local

AZ Buy Local Month With national holiday sales expected to top $630 billion this year, one organization is working to encourage Arizonans to do as much of their holiday shopping with local businesses as possible. For Buy Local Month, Local First Arizona’s (LFA) annual holiday campaign running from Black Friday through Christmas Eve, LFA aims to remind Arizonans about the impact of their holiday spending and offer resources to connect consumers with local businesses.

LFA Director Kimber Lanning explains that Buy Local Month is meant to be a fun reminder for consumers to think “Local First” during the biggest spending holiday of the year. “Every dollar that you spend has an impact on the local economy. Studies show shifting your spending from national to locally owned businesses creates new jobs and keeps up to four times more money in Arizona.” said Lanning. “If each holiday shopper shifted just 10% of their spending from national chains to independent businesses, that would add up to a huge investment in creating prosperous and vibrant communities that we are proud to call home.”

With reminders from groups like Local First Arizona, recent surveys indicate that local businesses are well positioned to capture a decent portion of holiday sales this year. According to the 2015 Independent Business Survey by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), “2014 holiday sales at local stores nationally grew by an average of 4.8% over 2013 numbers, beating the performance of many national chains and coming in well ahead of the 0.9% decline in December 2014 retail sales reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce.”

Buy Local Month Badge PrintThe ILSR survey also found that in areas with an active local business coalition, independent businesses see higher holiday sales. According to the survey, “independent businesses located in cities with Local First campaigns are outperforming those in cities without such a campaign.Businesses in places with a Local First initiative reported an average sales increase of 9.3% in 2014, compared to 4.9% for those elsewhere.

Lanning says that all of these statistics mean that local businesses should feel optimistic heading into the holiday season. “All indicators seem to predict that Arizona’s local businesses should see a strong turnout of holiday shoppers this winter,” said Lanning. “If that is the case, it will only mean great things for the future of Arizona’s economy.”

Holiday shoppers can visit the LFA website at localfirstaz.com/buy-local for a continuously updated list of holiday shopping events; gift ideas; offers and discounts from local businesses for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the ongoing holiday season; plus much more. Shoppers can also visit the Local First Arizona online directory of more than 2,700 local businesses across Arizona at localfirstaz.com/directory. The news blog hosts articles that offer up great gift ideas to make your local holiday shopping even easier. Any merchants that are interested in participating are encouraged to visit our Buy Local Month Media packet, download the materials, and share them to support local this holiday season.