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Monday, Nov. 30, 2009

Buy Local and Help Your Neighbors—And Yourself

Support Milwaukee retailers and win great prizes

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Get the most bang for your buck this holiday season by shopping at locally owned retailers, restaurants and cafés.

Not only will this support your neighbors’ businesses during a tough recession, but you’ll become eligible for some generous gift certificates and prizes donated by local establishments.

The key is to shop at locally owned businesses like the members of the Our Milwaukee business alliance. Money spent at these establishments creates a major ripple effect throughout the community. According to economists, while only 13 cents of each dollar spent at a national chain stays within the community, a whopping 68 cents of each dollar spent at a local business stays here. That money supports your friends and neighbors, our state and local governments and schools through taxes, and creates a vibrant, exciting metropolitan Milwaukee with unique businesses and culture.

The impact is huge. In fact, if all 325,000 Shepherd Express print and online readers spend $100 at local businesses this holiday season, an eye-popping $32.5 million would be pumped into the local economy. And an additional $22 million would continue to circulate within the area long after those initial purchases were made.

"Buying locally is one of the most important things we can do to keep our local economy thriving," said Our Milwaukee President Pam Mehnert, of Outpost Natural Foods. "We've seen local businesses closing. Ever since the recession hit, things really have slowed down. If we can encourage people to buy local first, it really would make a difference economically in our city."

To encourage our readers to shop locally, the Shepherd Express and Our Milwaukee have teamed up to reward those who promise to spend $100 at local establishments in the next few weeks. Just go to ExpressMilwaukee.com and take the Buy Local Pledge. When you sign up, you’ll become eligible for gift certificates and items generously donated by Our Milwaukee members.

“This is a win-win proposition,” said Shepherd Express Publisher Louis Fortis. “Our Milwaukee members have made generous donations to Shepherd Express readers, and our readers will pledge to support local businesses this holiday season and next year. Everybody wins.”

Participating local businesses include:

Winning Shepherd readers will be randomly selected daily throughout December.

But the Buy Local Pledge is only the beginning. When readers send us a receipt from an Our Milwaukee business dated Nov. 1-Dec. 31, they will be entered to win a grand prize we’ll announce later in the month.

In addition, Our Milwaukee is sponsoring a Buy Local Fair, to be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, 1-5 p.m., at the Lakefront Palm Garden, 1872 N. Commerce St.

Make Pledge