OGDEN — ’Tis the season for shopping, and with Black Friday right around the corner, local business owners and city officials are hoping holiday shoppers will buy local.
Ogden city and the council recently adopted a joint resolution encouraging residents to do all of their holiday shopping and dining within Ogden city limits.
The city says making a conscious effort to purchase within Ogden fosters local economic growth, enhances product convenience, makes shopping areas more vibrant and less susceptible to crime, and reduces environmental impacts that come from traveling to shop.
Mayor Mike Caldwell said another major plus of shopping locally is that sales tax dollars stay in the city and provide a direct benefit for city residents in the form of city services.
As the city’s resolution encourages shoppers to buy within city limits, Buy Local First Ogden, an organization that works to publicize the economic benefits of a locally owned business community, takes things a step further.
BLFO maintains that shoppers should not only stay within city limits, but they should also patronize locally owned stores before they go to national chains.
BLFO board member Suzy Dailey, who owns Ogden-based Grounds for Coffee, said when people shop at locally owned stores instead of larger chains, profits have a better chance of staying in the community.
“There is a huge difference between shopping at a local independent store and at a big chain store,” she said. “To put it simply, it’s a lot more likely that the money you spend at a local store will stay in the local area.”
A study from Civic Economics, an economic analysis and strategic planning consulting firm, seems to validate Dailey’s claim.
The study looked at the proportion of revenue expended by six independent Ogden retailers and seven independent Ogden restaurants in five categories:
• profits paid out to local owners,
• wages paid to local workers,
• procurement of goods and services for internal use,
• procurement of local goods for resale and
• charitable giving within the community.
For chain competitors, the aggregate value of those categories was estimated from public records.
The study found that the local Ogden retailers returned 48.3 percent of all revenue to the local economy, while the restaurants returned 56.7 percent.
For comparison purposes, Civic Economics analyzed annual reports for four major national chain stores — Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Office Max and Target.
On average, those stores recirculate 13.6 percent of all revenue within the local markets that host its stores.
For the chain restaurants, Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster), McDonald’s and PF Chang’s were studied.
Those eateries recirculate an average of 30.4 percent within local markets.
Peter Makowski, a project coordinator from Ogden’s Business Development Department, said he has seen the study and agrees that shopping local will help Ogden’s business community thrive.
But he also said that national chains aren’t all bad, noting that they, too, bring many benefits to a community, most notably in employment.
“We definitely want people to think local first, but we’re also not saying the big retail chains are bad.”
Caldwell said a mix of both is important, but Ogden is a city of eclectic tastes, a benefit that is spurred on by independent business.
“Ogden is defined by being unique and different,” he said.
“And our collection of independent retail shops and restaurants helps make that happen. When you look at the big chain stores, everything is usually the same.
“When you buy local, it supports variety and choice. It just makes things more interesting.”