Chamber: shop locally

Lisa Depies

When it comes to buying goods or services, Geneseo Chamber of Commerce officials want business owners to “think local.”

The chamber board recently launched a “$2 Million Pledge” program designed to create a stronger local business community.

The concept is to have business owners  or managers evaluate their business purchasing habits and try to buy as much as possible locally.

“This is our version of trying to put together a stimulus package,” said Scott Rubins, president of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce board.

“We want local business people to think about their spending habits,” he added.

Business officials are asked to estimate how much they spend locally in a calander year, from June 2008 through June 2009. The goal, said Rubins, is to have local businesses commit to spend at least $2 million locally.

Rubins, who’s also president and chief executive officer of Geneseo Communications said officials at his company “went through all of our vendors and looked at where we were buying, and tried to see if we could buy locally.”

He added, “Simple things like paper, pencils, groceries for your vending machines, cleaning services and ink cartridges can be purchased locally.”

Having local businesses buy from other local businesses “generates sales tax dollars in the city and helps keep our businesses going” Rubins explained.

“The response to this project has been very positive,” said Rhonda Ludwig, executive director of the Geneseo Chamber of Commerce. “Many businesses already do a lot of their business locally. We’re just trying to bring the issue to the forefront. We want the community to understand how much the businesses around them are re-investing in other local businesses.”

Rubins said response to the project has been “very good.”

“We’ve already had a few people step up and pledge to spend a substantial amount. I think we’re going to be able to go well past the $2 million mark,”?he said.

Geneseo Communications has pledged to spend $200,000 locally, said Rubins, and he hopes other businesses will join the project.

“The idea is to bring awareness to the importance of shopping locally,” he said.

The $2?Million Pledge is open to all Geneseo businesses.

For more information, or to be a part of the program, contact the chamber at 944-2686.