Local purchases support local economy

Bob Hendrickson, GINCC

The Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce supports local buying initiatives to help our communities prosper. One being the Be Local, Buy Local app, which is a collaborative program between the GINCC and Marquette Chamber of Commerce. The Marquette Food Co-op has also been investing a tremendous amount of time in making the app functional and easy to implement for the business setting.

Started in 2016, a committee of the Marquette Chamber of Commerce began working on a local buying incentive to support the small business community being impacted by large retail outlets and online sales. The initial plan was to develop a holiday shopping program that would give small business an edge in the competitive retail market.

The program was quickly embraced by the community and was soon on track to be a year-round program. The GINCC joined to promote the program on the West End of Marquette County. While not as many businesses joined in compared to the Marquette segment, those that did found a benefit from the program.

The current number of users of the BLBL app is over 2,900 who have recorded over a million dollars in local purchases in the past three years. The incentive to use the program is a weekly drawing for a $50 BLBL gift card, paid for by the business usage fee from the participating retailers enrolled in the program.

As with any digital technology there are always bugs that need to be worked out. Glitches have been evaluated and fixed. This past year the BLBL committee has been working hard on getting everything lined up for a relaunch this holiday season. The key will be to expand the business base. A straight flat rate fee of $20 per month will be offered to all businesses enrolled in the BLBL program. This replaces the tiered system used previously.

Benefits of the program to businesses is the marketing of the buy local incentives, a listing on the BLBL Business Directory and engagement of loyal customers who are looking to support the small business community.

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, this is an excellent time for businesses to get onboard with the Be Local Buy Local program. The new rate fee will be in place by Oct. 31.

For more information go to www.belocalbuylocal.app where more details are explained or call the GINCC at 486-1111.

Editor’s note: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.


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