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'Give Local A Chance' campaign kicks off with Max Collins mural unveiling on Grant Street

by jmaloni
Wed, Nov 21st 2012 11:05 am

Mural of independent business owners by local artist highlights campaign's message to support stronger communities through shopping locally for the holidays

On Wednesday, local business advocates Buffalo First! joined with elected officials, local and independent business owners, nonprofit partners and citizens to kick off "Give Local A Chance," the organization's annual holiday-local shopping campaign.

Local artist Max Collins unveiled his mural of independent Grant Street proprietors overlooking the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Grant Street. This is the fourth public art installation by Collins in Buffalo.

"Give Local A Chance" is an annual campaign to engage Buffalo's holiday shoppers, connect them to the locally owned and independent businesses in their community, and encourage a shift in shopping habits from "big-box" to local, for both the holiday season and year-round.

Buffalo First! does this by launching a "think local first" marketing campaign, by providing an aggregate calendar of business district holiday activities and a directory of locally owned and independent businesses at www.buffalofirst.org; by hosting a local marketplace of independent artisans, artists, vendors and established local businesses; and by actively engaging the community with educational materials about the economic, environmental and community benefits of shopping locally.

"Buffalo has so many options for shoppers this holiday season. I do all my Christmas shopping in the city," said City of Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder, who founded the Greater South Buffalo Chamber of Commerce in 2002 in an effort to support neighborhood businesses. "Whatever you are looking for, you can find it in Buffalo, and you will be supporting your local economy in the process."

"As the holiday shopping season starts, I want to stress the importance of maximizing the use of local businesses," said Niagara District Common Councilmember David Rivera. "The benefits go beyond simply putting dollars in the hands of local business. There is a greater return on your purchase when you buy local as businesses are more likely to invest in neighborhood improvements, sell locally produced products, and create a stronger community."

"When you shop local, you are generating wealth for our community," said Louise Sano, owner of Global Villages, a fair trade boutique on Grant Street. "When people buy local, the money stays here - the fruits of this are visible, as you can clearly see on Grant Street and business districts around Buffalo."

"It's vital we all encourage consumers to shop locally and help independent businesses compete more effectively," said Tamora Lee, global marketing and branding consultant of GettheBuzz716. "Your dollars spent in locally owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as do dollars spent at national chains."

"It is important that we make smart investments that build a better future for us all," said Micaela Shapiro-Shellaby, lead organizer at the Coalition for Economic Justice. "This holiday season, people can invest in and support a more equitable and sustainable economy by shopping at local small businesses, which create more jobs and keep more money local."

"Shifting your dollars and supporting locally owned businesses is the simplest way for citizens to actively contribute to creating a self-determined and revitalized local economy," said Sarah Bishop, executive director of Buffalo First!.

As part of "Give Local A Chance," Buffalo First! will host a "Pop-Up Shops" local marketplace on Saturday, Dec. 1 (noon until 8 p.m.), featuring more than 20 vendors on three floors of MAIN (ST)UDIOS, 515 Main St., in conjunction with the 500-600 block of Main Street's Holiday Block Party.

A calendar of local business district holiday events can be found at http://www.buffalofirst.org/givelocalachance and a directory of locally owned and independent businesses is available at http://www.buffalofirst.org/directory. More information about Buffalo First! and its efforts to support a local living economy in Buffalo can be found at www.buffalofirst.org.

Buffalo First! is a nonprofit whose mission is to foster a strong, self-determined local economy in Western New York through consumer education, advocacy and programs that further the impact of local and sustainable business in the region.

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