Barb Stein, owner of Great Northern Trading Company in downtown Rockford and past Chair of the Michigan Retailers Board of Directors, is excited to launch a new campaign encouraging local shopping. Buy Nearby, Get Caught Blue-Handed is a reminder that Michigan is a great place to live, work, play and shop. And every time someone shops at a Michigan retailer it helps support Michigan’s economy. In fact, retail sales support nearly one in four Michigan jobs, providing 18 percent of the state’s GDP.
The Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) kicks off a new statewide campaign that encourages residents to “Buy Nearby” at Michigan retailers. The campaign will engage people on a very personal level, encouraging them to demonstrate pride in and support for our great state by spending their shopping dollars nearby. The campaign is a call to action, a celebration and rallying cry for shoppers, and an economic driver for all of Michigan.
“This is the start of something big!” said James P. Hallan, MRA president and CEO. “We want businesses, communities and shoppers to get excited about the great places and great shops we have in Michigan.”
The promotional theme for this year’s campaign, “Get Caught Blue-Handed,” plays on the blue Buy Nearby logo that is shaped like the “Michigan mitten.” Although the campaign will run throughout the year and is ongoing, the theme will be “celebrated” annually on the first Saturday in October (October 5 in 2013).
Throughout that day, shoppers will be challenged to visit participating Michigan retailers to show their support and get in on special promotions – including a chance to “get caught blue-handed!” in photos or on videotape making a purchase. These photos and video clips may be posted online or displayed in stores. A link to a kick-off video is available on YouTube or at www.buynearbymi.com, and shoppers are encouraged to post their own videos or photos on the Buy Nearby Facebook page.
“This campaign is not exclusive to MRA members or small retailers or large retailers. It’s for the benefit of all retailers who have invested their dollars and hard work to create jobs in our communities,” said Tom Ungrodt, president and CEO of Ideation in Ann Arbor and chair of the MRA Board of Directors.
“In addition to realizing the economic benefits of this campaign, we also want shoppers, retailers and communities to enjoy and have fun with it,” he added.
Barb Stein said many communities around the state are already doing great things to help their residents and visitors shop nearby. She said the campaign is not limited to just small stores and big retailers are just as welcome to participate as the boutiques and shops found in downtown Rockford.
“This impresses the importance of brick and mortar shops are to the communities they support,” Stein said. She reminds shoppers that real, physical stores, unlike online retail, keep money spent in the local community. “I return the money spent at Great Northern back to the community in a thousand different ways,” she said. “We would love people to think who will support their student fundraisers and other local efforts if these stores aren’t here anymore? How much of the town’s tax dollars come from business?”
“That’s why we think this is the perfect time for a statewide campaign to encourage and promote this trend,” Stein said. “As a statewide organization, we want to support and build on these local efforts. We want to provide additional resources and help focus greater attention on what local stores and communities are doing to promote shopping in Michigan.”
Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of Michigan’s retail industry, representing nearly 5,000 member businesses and their more than 15,000 stores and websites. Retail is responsible for more than 850,000 jobs in Michigan’s economy.
Stein hopes everyone of those 15,000 stores will see the value of encouraging local shopping and help their customers “get caught blue-handed.”