2009-02-12 / Front Page

Chamber of Commerce surveys local purchasing habits

Islanders asked for their opinions
By Jeff McDonough

This week the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce is launching "Buy Jamestown," a campaign to encourage island folk to shop locally whenever possible.

The effort starts with a short survey that can be found on page 5 of this newspaper. As an added bonus, the first 100 people who respond to the survey will be eligible for a drawing to win $100 in Chamber checks.

Here's the deal. Complete the survey on page 5. It should take you about five to 10 minutes. Then clip out the survey and drop it off at one of the following island locations: East Ferry Deli, Conanicut Marine Ship's Store, Jamestown Hardware, McQuade's Marketplace, Baker's Pharmacy, Grapes & Gourmet, Town Hall and the Jamestown library. Copies of the survey will also be available in those locations.

The Chamber has also made taking the survey even easier for those who prefer to go on the Internet. Log onto www.BuyJamestownRI. com and complete the survey. It's really quite simple.

Survey questions focus on consumer spending with island merchants and services, as well as a separate section for business-tobusiness input.

According to Chamber President Vicki deAngeli, the survey is designed to raise awareness about the many benefits of shopping locally while assessing the needs of islanders.

"Local businesses are considered an important part of the fabric of Jamestown so we are asking residents and members of the business community to fill out a brief survey which will be used to help businesses better meet their needs. The program is intended to strengthen

our community," she said.

Islander Jack Hubbard came up with the idea for the survey about two years ago. Hubbard and deAngeli have been assisted with the development of the questionnaire by Julie Kallfelz and Chamber Executive Director Donna Olney Kohler. Jane Lee designed the logo.

"This is just the start" of the Buy Jamestown effort, deAngeli said. The Chamber is planning to make colorful Buy Jamestown stickers and decals available to its members to remind islanders to shop locally. An on-going public relations effort is planned.

"A strong local economy is the foundation for the strong state and national economy," she added. "This will help to remind people that there are many goods and services they can buy locally. That will benefit all of us."

"We want to encourage people to stop and think before they shop," Hubbard said.

Hubbard said many people have a false perception that shopping in Jamestown is expensive. He hopes that the survey will help islanders realize the value of the local businesses and that the convenience and the personal service found locally can benefit them in many ways.

DeAngeli said that economists have estimated that $1 spent locally will turn over five to eight times in the community.

"We want to raise the awareness that shopping locally makes for a stronger, healthier community," she added. Local businesses employ local residents, pay local taxes and contribute to local civic and community organizations, she said.

DeAngeli said the Buy Jamestown effort is in keeping with the Chamber's goal to preserve and improve the quality of life in Jamestown, while creating an atmosphere of goodwill between the business community and island residents.

Chamber member John Collins said he remembers back in the 1970s and 1980s when there were a lot of empty storefronts in the village. "We don't want that to happen again," he added.

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