By Jason A. Smith
Area businesses are participating in an endeavor to generate patronage from local consumers. The Henry County Chamber of Commerce will launch its second annual "Shop Local, Shop Henry" initiative Friday. It will continue through Jan. 1, 2011.
The program is designed to raise awareness of the need for residents to shop locally, according to Chamber President Kay Pippin. "Shop Henry is all about promoting and supporting local businesses," Pippin said. "It's about making your hard-earned money go further, fueling the local economy, and helping to preserve the unique character of Henry County."
The objective of the program, she said, is to demonstrate the impact of local residents spending their money at businesses within the Henry community. Pippin believes the project has been successful thus far.
"The campaign has been, and continues to be, a grassroots campaign, making the number of businesses participating hard to accurately gauge," she said. "But, it has been well-supported by our membership and other local businesses throughout the county.
"Last year, the Shop Local shopping bags blanketed the community," Pippin said. "While they are still an integral part of the campaign, we are also trying to engage the online audience/consumers through business and individual Facebook pages."
Businesses are encouraged to decorate shopping bags with the initiative's logo, fill them with merchandise and display them at their locations, said Pippin.
"The program is also being promoted through banners at large events, and in prominent locations throughout the community," she added. "Businesses with digital marquee signs have been contacted and requested, to add 'Shop Local, Shop Henry' to their signs ..."
Loren Pierce, the owner of Moye's Pharmacy, a locally-owned chain of retail pharmacies, and a past participant in "Shop Local, Shop Henry," said the campaign can have a "profound impact" on the economy in Henry. "Local businesses typically employ local residents, as well as contribute to charities and other non-profits in Henry County," said Pierce. "By supporting local businesses like ours, you are, in turn, supporting the entire community."
Neil Daniell, the co-owner of Chevy's Diner, an eatery on the Square in McDonough, said the primary benefit of the campaign lies in how it raises awareness of local commerce.
"It's a great way for people to recognize what's in their community, and to, basically, rely on the resources that are in the community, to make the community prosper," Daniell said.
Stacy Painter-Yates, owner of Stacy's Closet in McDonough, is participating in the Chamber's endeavor for the first time, after opening her store -- a resale and consignment shop -- four months ago. Painter-Yates agrees with Daniell, regarding the need for businesses to reach out to potential customers. She said the program is particularly important this year, because of the current financial climate.
"In my store, I want to be able to offer name-brand, gently-used items, for as much as 70 percent less than what you can buy it at a retail store," she said. "It's a way to reach out to the community in our economic times, to be able to get the things that we've always had, but at a price that we can afford."
Kim Scott works as a business manager at Bliss cupcake shop, which opened in March. She said "Shop Local, Shop Henry" is important for area businesses to take part in, for two reasons. "It's very important for us to devote ourselves to the community," she said. "It's also very important to have a regular-customer base, and repeat business."
For more information, call the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, at (770) 957-5786.