Salt Lake City urges customers to buy local on Small Business Saturday

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City brought statistics, dignitaries and even a TV star to celebrate Small Business Saturday -- an effort to persuade people to shop at local stores.  The goal is persuade customers to spend just 10 percent more locally which would add $1.3 billion to the Utah economy.

The day was kicked off at Ken Sanders Rare Books.  Sanders has been selling books in Salt Lake City since the 1960s at the long-defunct Cosmic Aeroplane.

“Great cities are not defined by malls and chain stores the small shops,” said Sanders. “The book shops, boutiques, the little bodegas of any city are what give it its vibrancy and uniqueness.”

He said his bookstore offers in-person advice and an experience you cannot get online. “If you want to see and feel and smell the book and buy an affordable cheap copy we’ve got it.”

Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski issued a proclamation declaring November 25 as Small Business Day. "Small businesses are really important to the Salt Lake economy," said Lara Fritts, Salt Lake City Economic Development Director. “People want to live in cool places and Salt Lake City is cool because of the great businesses that call our city home."

Actor Reid Ewing who plays Dylan on the hit TV show “Modern Family” stopped by the bookstore to lend support to local businesses. He is now a Salt Lake City customer and a regular shopper at Ken Sanders Rare Books.

“I encourage you to come here and buy a book, maybe it will change your life,” said Ewing.

According to research from Local First Utah, local retailers return more than half of their revenue to the local economy, versus just 13.6 percent from national chain retailers.

“The (local revenue) creates jobs, they keep our tax base functioning they pave our roads they keep our emergency responders in business,” Kristen Lavelett, Buy Local First Utah Executive Director.

Mr. Mac is a family-owned business that has been in Utah for 50 years. Co-owner Stuart Christensen said the clothing stores has succeeded because of the one-on-one contact with customers.

“The great thing about buying local is you’re supporting people who live in the community, your friends and your neighbors,” said Christensen. “We are able to provide a meaningful service, create a memorable experience. So shopping with us isn’t just shopping for clothing but building relationships, being interactive, making it a fun experience and a memorable experience.”

Brittany Shimmin opened Vive Juicery in Salt Lake City four years ago because she said juice improved her health and wanted to share it with the community. She also said her store can offer juice that is better than what you can get in a chain store or grocery store.

“With us all of our products are made fresh right here in Salt Lake,” said Shimmin. “It’s really going to be the freshest you can get.”

Salt Lake City Council Member Stan Penfold is also encouraging shoppers to buy local everyday. “If you want something unusual, out of the ordinary, quirky you are going to find it at a local shop.”

More information about the buy local movement can be found here and here.