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Zions Bank and Local First Utah: 10 percent to locals means billions to economy

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SALT LAKE CITY -- For Betsy Burton, buy local is more than a slogan. It's a living, and it's a way to sustain a healthy economy.

Burton is co-owner of the King's English bookshop, a staple of Salt Lake City's 15th and 15th neighborhood for more than three decades. She also helped found Local First Utah, a movement of locally owned businesses now numbering over 4,000.

"Every time you spend your dollar you're making a decision, not just about the stuff you're buying, but about the place you live," Burton said.

Burton is one of the prime movers behind a new effort to encourage Utahns to shop at their local, independently owned stores.

It's called Shift Your Spending Week, and Tuesday, Burton and Cicero Group CEO Randy Shumway asked Utahns to pledge to spend 10 percent of their shopping dollars at locally owned stores.

Shumway, who's company does public opinion research for Zions Bank, said the shift could have a profound influence on Utah's economy.

"If Utahns were to simply shift 10 percent of their spending annually to local businesses, we would see 1.3 billion additional dollars in Utah's economy," Shumway said.

Shift Your Spending Week begins on Black Friday and continues for the next seven days, though Local First Utah hopes the pledge becomes a year-long habit.