As the holiday season approaches, national retail revenues skyrocket, leaving some local businesses in the dust.
However, a local organization is working to ensure that this increased revenue stays in the area’s economy by encouraging residents to make purchases from local, independent businesses.
Dane Buy Local, founded in 2004, provides support to 800 small business members throughout central Wisconsin. The service also connects members to each other.
In the city of Madison, small businesses are especially vital to the economy, according to Executive Director of Dane Buy Local Colin Murray.
“Madison has unique features,” Murray said. “State Street has stores you can’t find anywhere else, they’re different from malls with big name stores that are the same everywhere across the country.”
Murray explained that Dane Buy Local ensures more money will stay in Madison’s local economy. Studies cited by the program show that for every $100 spent at an independent business, $73 stay in the local economy, compared to only $43 of every $100 spent at big-name chain stores.
“The Dane Buy Local program has been really successful in Madison,” Murray said. “We saw an 11 percent local sales increase during the holiday season last year, compared to a 4 percent national average of increase.”
Murray aims to improve student awareness of the program in order to connect a vital market to small businesses.
“Many students shop at chain stores just because they identify with the store names they recognize from at home,” Murray said.
This year, a “Shop Online” function has been added to the Dane Buy Local website in order to make it easier to support local businesses.
“For anything from pharmaceuticals to gifts, all people need to do is visit our online directory of members atdanebuylocal.com,” Murray said. “The local businesses we have listed online cover everything anyone could possibly need.”