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'Shop local' focus group working to clarify goals

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By Sandy Barnes

“There’s a lot of confusion about what we’re doing,” said Ron Issacson, leader of an Evergreen focus group, during the June 12 meeting.

Since the last meeting, Issacson said, he had been talking with organizations in Evergreen to clarify goals.

“A lot of what I’m trying to do is to put people’s minds at ease … to get the ‘shop local’ campaign together,” he said.

At the least, discussing the focus group’s efforts is stimulating conversation, Issacson remarked.

“It’s getting people to think about things.”

Issacson also suggested reaching out to people in the community at local events, walking crowds and canvassing to gather support for shopping local.

“An organization that is community-wide has to take leadership,” said Carol Lomond, publisher of City and Mountain Views magazine.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with people,” said Lin Browning, president of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not just ‘shop local,’ but ‘live local.’ ”

During the discussion at the Center for the Arts Evergreen, Steve Sumner, CAE director, suggested that the group come up with a tag line to promote Evergreen, which could be distributed within the community.

“We do have to have something that is recognizable,” said Browning.

She suggested the tagline “We support living locally.”

“Love and live Evergreen,” said John Ellis, chairman of the board of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce.

The group members also reviewed promotional items such as buttons and T-shirts that could be used to promote Evergreen.

“Will people wear buttons?” Browning asked.

Sumner also introduced the issue of incentives for Evergreen residents to shop locally.

“To get people to live and shop local, there needs to be a reward,” he said.

A 10 percent discount for residents who shop at Evergreen businesses could be an option, Sumner said.

People might ask: “What am I getting back from shopping locally?” he remarked.

“We get money back,” Sumner said.

Most people also don’t understand that a portion of revenues from local businesses come back to Evergreen through the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, a special regional tax district in the state that provides funding for the arts, Sumner explained.

“The only thing people do buy here is their groceries,” he said.

Issacson offered to create a promotional flier, which could be handed out to people attending upcoming events such as Summerfest.

Browning said the chamber has been taking a poll on its Facebook page asking people what they like about Evergreen, and had the following reply from resident Gail Montgomery:

“Here's why I like Evergreen:

“Because no one (except the occasional crazy person) ever gets tired of the elk or deer causing the traffic jam. 

“Because everywhere you go, you know someone. 

“Because when a dog is found on the street, we all go into action to find the parents. 

“Because Kevin at Safeway knows my name and everyone else’s that shops there.

“Because the lake is stunning. 

“Because we all look out for each other. 

“Because we have the best volunteer fire department ever.

“Because we unite in force when it matters, and even when no one is watching. 

“Because it is my home!”

 

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.