Dr. Julie Belanger of InSight Family and Pediatric Eye Care goes over contact lenses with paitent Kari Creech. A sponsor of the Shop Local Clayton campaign, Belanger is looking for people to shop local with their health care.
CLAYTON -- As it enters its second holiday shopping season, the Shop Local Clayton campaign isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
The campaign is an ongoing effort by the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and the town to advertise local businesses and get residents to keep their tax dollars in town.
For every $100 spent locally, the campaign stresses, $68 of those dollars remain local.
The town has supported the campaign by directing $10,000 to fund the Shop Local program, and the town’s investment seems to be reaping benefits. While the correlation can’t be proven, the town’s sales tax revenue distribution has increased since the shop local campaign began.
The first clue came in January, when Clayton’s January sales tax distribution was 27 percent higher than in December and nearly 8 percent higher than the previous year. In June, the sales tax distribution was 14.1 percent higher than in June of 2011.
“This isn’t a one time thing, this is an ongoing effort,” said campaign coordinator Cindy Nanez of Divine Marketing Group. “We have to shop local and support our local economy.”
This time last year, the campaign was just kicking off and seeking sponsors to sign up to pay a certain amount of money to receive different levels of benefits, including social media marketing and the business listing on Shop Local literature distributed at events and mailed to residents.
But the sponsorships only last a year, and the campaign is looking to get those sponsorships renewed so they can continue to pay for advertisements for the campaign and the sponsoring businesses.
Now, the campaign is hoping to gain more sponsors from professional businesses, like health care providers, mechanics and hairstylists.
“We’re not just talking about retail, we’re talking about professional services as well,” said Keri Butler, who is working with Nanez as a campaign coordinator.
Butler said she and her kids see doctors here in Clayton, and there’s no reason why other Clayton residents shouldn’t do the same.
“You don’t have to go to Raleigh to go to a doctor, you have everything here in Clayton,” Butler said.
While Butler admits that Clayton doesn’t have every kind of business or store a person might be in need of, it’s worth it to start locally.
“We understand that everything isn’t in Clayton, but try to shop here first,” Butler said.
The Shop Local website offers a directory for all the businesses in the Clayton area, listing them in categories like shopping and retail, health and wellness, and dining and entertainment.
Now that the town has largely been introduced to the Shop Local idea, Butler and Nanez say they hope they can focus the second year of the campaign on marketing their sponsors more heavily.
“Last year we wanted to get the word out. This year, we want to do more marketing,” Nanez said.
At the Christmas Village and tree lighting in November, the shop local campaign will be passing out baggies with business fliers, magnets, pens and coupons. Nanez said their sponsors have said the biggest benefit to joining the campaign was the advertising they receive at local events and festivals.
Baggies were also passed out at the Harvest Festival, and the campaign signed up 190 new email accounts for the e-newsletter, which includes feature articles on gold and silver sponsors as well as printable coupons.
“(The sponsors) are part of a movement, and it’s essential to the local economy,” Nanez said.