The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

April 1, 2012

Shop Local’s mission: Make community aware of what’s available here

ANDERSON, Ind. — Tying into all the fun of Easter, Shop Local staged a Bunny Hop at Mounds Mall on Thursday night to spread its message to the community.

“Ultimately our mission is to make the community aware of what is available here in our own backyard,” said Erin Campbell, owner of GMACK Graphics. “Local businesses have a smaller advertising budget and can’t always get the word out about their services.”

Only in its second year, Shop Local is an organization under the Anderson Indiana Main Street, or AIMS, umbrella. Rather than holding monthly meetings, the group plans events several times a year and allow members to erect booths to attract possible clients.

“When I started doing research about how much more money stays in the community when you shop locally, I was really surprised,” said Campbell. “It changed the way I shop. I used to go to Muncie or Noblesville without a second thought, but now I try to buy in Anderson.”

“We want to educate the public about the importance of shopping locally,” said Pat Storm, public relations and marketing coordinator for Unified Group Services and treasurer of Shop Local. “When people shop at locally owned businesses, 68 percent of the money stays in the community — it goes into banks, pays taxes, supports public services, and employs people in this area.”

Although Unified Group Services is a third-party business and deals with employers rather than the general public, the locally-owned business champions the mission of the organization.

“As a company, we are committed to the communities where we do business,” she added. “We want to make Anderson the best place it can be and think it is important for people to embrace the idea of shopping locally.”

Campbell mentioned that the group is considering partnering with a national organization to grow the program. She also mentioned that as Unified Group Services won the 2011 Indiana Small Business of the Year award from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, their commitment to this organization was recognized as outstanding.

“I have been surprised at the number of children that grasp this concept so quickly,” said Storm. “One lady was telling me that her child didn’t want a Happy Meal because the toy was made in China instead of here.”

Getting Together features clubs, organizations and social groups from the area each Monday in The Herald Bulletin.

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