Mainstreet: Spend locally |

Mainstreet: Spend locally

Group aims to prevent flow of dollars out of Steamboat

Blythe Terrell

Steamboat Springs resident Douglas James Nielsen walks past an F.M. Light and Sons window display Thursday evening. The Mainstreet Steamboat Springs organization again is encouraging people to do their holiday shopping locally.

— Wary about dollars slipping away through online and out-of-town sales, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs again is launching a “shop local” campaign in the holiday season.

The push for this year’s campaign, “Downtown Bound,” was inspired by Indie Bound, which promotes independent bookstores. Epilogue Book Co. owner Erica Fogue introduced the campaign to Steamboat, Mainstreet Manager Tracy Barnett said.

The program provides literature explaining the community and economic benefits of shopping locally. Spending money in Steamboat helps others who work and live here, she said.

“If you’re buying stuff online, it may be cheaper, but is it at the cost of losing your neighbors and your friends?” Barnett asked.

Epilogue has the list taped to its counter. “Here’s what you just did,” it reads, outlining the benefits. Indie Bound explains some of them on its Web site. For example, $68 of every $100 spent locally stays in the community, compared with $43 of $100 spent at a national chain.

“Now, more than ever, it’s ultra important,” Fogue said. “Everyone’s worried about the national economy. Chains are closing. : We’re telling people that you can effect change right here, right now, just by buying one thing downtown.”

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Indie Bound also offers posters with customized three-word slogans encouraging local shopping. Epilogue has one reading “eat, sleep, read” at the top and “support independents in your community” along the bottom.

Moose Mountain owner Jenny Wall said she encourages people to keep their money in town.

“There are a lot of great stores here,” Wall said. “I fully admit that there’s some things we can’t get here, and we need to go online or out of town to get those things. : It makes a whole lot of sense for people to understand that if they shop locally, it’s going to help everybody.”

Barnett said Mainstreet also would encourage tourists to shop downtown. If they don’t, she said, everyone feels the effects.

“It drives me crazy that the plumber and the dentist say the tourist dollars don’t affect them,” she said. “If we didn’t have tourists, we wouldn’t need so many plumbers. If we didn’t have tourists, we wouldn’t have as many people and wouldn’t need as many dentists.”

Her group also hopes to attract people to downtown with its Dec. 13 Merry Mainstreet celebration. The event is similar to the Halloween Stroll, Barnett said. The city will close streets, and businesses along Lincoln Avenue will have open houses, gingerbread houses and decorations.

Activities will include caroling, a grand opening for the Howelsen Place shops and pictures with Santa, Barnett said.

Wall said she was excited.

“Halloween is so much fun, and it’s an event that everybody comes down for,” Wall said.

Barnett said the Steamboat Ski Area would promote packages related to the Dec. 13 celebration. That, in addition to the Chamber Resort Association’s new Spurs on Service program, will be important this winter, Barnett said.

“I just hope people stay upbeat with their guests and give them the best service they can,” she said. “I think service is going to be a huge part of it.”

Wall said it was important for locals to participate, too.

“We just all need to come together as a community more,” she said.