Posted: 12/09/2012 01:03:22 AM PST
Shop local and support your community.
That is the message Vacaville leaders are passing on, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong, thriving local economy.
"Shopping locally not only supports the city in terms of sales tax revenues, but it also supports our entire city in that ... (dollars spent) on local businesses creates jobs, which, in turn, creates more spending," explained Mark Mazzaferro, spokesman for the city of Vacaville and its economic development representative. "Pretty soon, it's a nice network of support."
Bob Vollmer, head of the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District, agreed. Shopping locally means keeping tax revenues at home, he said, which keeps the economy going, local businesses in business and so on.
The DVBID executive director quoted an E Magazine article by Tim Mitchell to illustrate the phenomenon:
"A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community," Mitchell wrote. "Spend $1 at a national chain store, and 80 percent of it leaves town immediately."
Vollmer said revenues from shopping locally have helped to keep the downtown area vibrant.
"Over the last three years, we've sustained a 9 percent increase in sales tax revenue," he said. "Our vacancy rate downtown ... is 1 percent, which is great."
That, he pointed out, is what can be accomplished by shopping locally in an economic downturn.
On a regional scale, shopping close to home is integral to a community more than ever with the loss of redevelopment funding, impacts from state and federal budget cuts and more, advised Sandy Person with the Solano Economic Development Corporation. The trickle-down effect of local spending not only keeps businesses going, she said, but it also pays for things like public safety services and other resources a community needs.
It's a good sign that retail businesses have not dropped off in Solano County, she continued, and that auto sales are returning after scant sales numbers a few years back.
But does Vacaville have everything its residents need? And is shopping locally cost-effective?
Mazzaferro said the city strives to encourage a diverse array of businesses to come to Vacaville and will continue to do so. Right now, there's a little bit of everything -- from hotels to retail, restaurants to auto. As for cost, he believes shopping near home is somewhat of a bargain. Consider the money saved from gas not spent to travel elsewhere, and time saved, too, he said.
As for Vollmer, he thinks Vacaville, especially the downtown area, is rich in what it provides to the community.
"We have 25 restaurants in downtown Vacaville and all the entertainment you want," he said, ticking off live music, seasonal events like the Halloween Stroll and the farmers market, and more.
The longtime Vacaville resident added that he'd love to help welcome more new businesses to the downtown area and wishes it could somehow grow to accommodate anyone who wants to open there.
"Come down here," he urged. "There's always something going on."
Follow Staff Writer Kimberly K. Fu at Twitter.com/ReporterKimFu.