Thursday, August 21, 2014

‘Go Local’ garnering positive reponse

November is “Go Local Month” and it appears more and more businesses are getting on board with the new initiative here.
Consultant Tannis Drysdale told town council last night the “Go Local Fort Frances” team has been out talking to local businesses, and “more than any other program I have been involved in, in terms of marketing, the response has been very positive.”

“We expect to have 25-30 businesses signed up for the rewards program and ready to go in January, with the next 20 going through the system,” she noted.
Drysdale said the “Go Local” program here consists of two separate elements. The first is a co-operative marketing program, consisting of advertisements, events, social media, direct mail, and a website to promote partner businesses.
The second is a loyalty rewards card program and gift card program.
“In the coming year, in January, you’ll be able to get one of these ‘Go Local’ cards and you’ll be able to collect ‘Local’ points that will translate into ‘Local’ gift dollars at, we expect, up to 50 local businesses in our community,” said Drysdale.
“So unlike the Air Miles, which are great and we all like using them but they fly that money out of our community, these ‘Local’ points will bring them back in and keep them contained within the community,” she explained.
“It’s a reward for people for shopping local and, if anything, this program is designed around positive, good reasons to shop local.
“It’s very much about finding opportunities to shop local and not feeling bad when you can’t,” Drysdale reasoned.
She said the “Go Local” program here was created for several reasons. For instance, for every dollar spent locally, 45 cents of it is invested locally.
Dollars that leave the community, on the other hand, are gone forever.
Spending locally also helps create and maintain businesses that make our community unique—the kind of businesses that you remember from childhood, that your mother shopped at.
“They help to define us,” remarked Drysdale. “They make us different and unique than other communities. They engage and interest tourists.
“And they’re the things that kids are talking about [on social media] when they remember their home towns,” she added.
Shifting more of your dollars to stay local also helps support the businesses that support the community, whether those businesses sponsors sports teams, give to charities, or do volunteer work.
In the spirit of the campaign, Drysdale also asked mayor and council to pledge to become a “localist” and shift a percentage of their spending to local businesses.
She noted no one is expected to shift all of their spending to local businesses, but committing to a certain amount helps decide what businesses will be here five-10 years from now.
“It sounds like a very interesting program,” said Mayor Roy Avis.
“I hope that it gets off the ground and we get lots of support locally.”
Drysdale said Tonia Dolph has been hired to run the social media side of “Go Local Fort Frances,” and there’s plenty of ways to find out more about the initiative, including:
•Via e-mail: info@golocalfortfrances.com;
•On Facebook: facebook.com/GoLocalFortFrances; and
•On Twitter: twitter.com/GoLocal_FF.

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