MASON COUNTY — A group of people in Mason County want to raise awareness about what it means to keep money in this region, starting with shopping for the holidays.
The “Shop Local Campaign” is new joint undertaking by the Mason County Chamber of Commerce and others, including Richard Walker, Point Pleasant business-owner.
“It has been a recent development,” Walker said. “We’ve just started down this road in the past 30 days or so,”
The idea, according to Walker, is to keep as much money in the community as possible, and that of neighboring Gallia County.
The campaign is based on two principles; one is concerned with personal savings, said Walker.
“We want to remind and encourage people to stay local by pointing out that they actually save money if they do. Driving to Huntington, Charleston, or Columbus is expensive.”
With gas and general vehicle wear-and-tear considered, that trip can cost between $50 and $100, Walker added.
“And you’re taking money out of the community.”
The other principle concerns a wider community benefit.
“When local merchants thrive, everyone benefits,” said Walker. “They in turn provide support to community events, school events, local athletes, and other things that we value.”
In other words, shopping locally makes the community better for everyone, Walker noted.
“We’re doing this to try to get the message out,” he said. “We’re going to put up a billboard up and try to get our message out over the next few months.”
Walker went on to say that this campaign doesn’t exclude Gallia County — there’s a lot of good shopping to be had just a across the river.
“A lot of the regional business support organizations on both sides of the river,” he said. “It depends on what you need, of course: but there are places to buy shoes, clothing, gifts, furniture, sporting goods, and many more goods.”
Walker added that he’d like to have a central hub of information on where certain goods can be purchased within the area. He said that a searchable database, for instance, would be useful for people who are shopping with specific needs in mind.
“People could enter a query for products like items of clothing, or jewelry, or anything, and a list of merchants would be provided.”
Keeping money in the local area, concluded Walker, is something that just takes a little forethought.
“We oftentimes tend to overlook places here that’ll meet our needs. All we need to do is put a bit more thought into it and everyone will profit.”