I was in the market for a winter coat, but, given what passes for cold in Georgia, I knew the right coat would have to be relatively lightweight.
I searched the racks at out-of-town malls, big-box retailers and outlet stores and found nothing to my taste.
Last month, just before we had a fall cold snap, I was in Calhoun Feed & Seed on a different er-rand when I found exactly what I wanted. I bought it and inadvertently took part in what has become a successful retail promotion.
Gordon County’s six-month trial balloon to keep local dollars inside the county has been so suc-cessful that a 12-month version will begin in January.
That’s the assessment given by Kim Brazell, who serves as chair of the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce’s “Stop, Shop, Go Gordon” campaign.
The program, which grew out of a 2008 chamber planning retreat, “highlights shopping locally and what that means to our community,” Brazell told the Calhoun Rotary Club recently.
“Stop, Shop, Go Gordon” program was launched at the June Chamber Booster Breakfast and was intended to boost community awareness and assist the program’s business partners.
More than 50 local businesses signed on as sponsors, and those sponsorships paid for the print and on-air advertising that promoted the program to local shoppers.
“It seems like a relatively simple thing, but when you buy gas or groceries in Bartow County, the revenue — and the sales tax benefits — stay in Bartow County,” Brazell said. “When you make the same purchase here, your money and its benefits stay here.
“The program means a lot more than just increased sales for our small retailers,” Brazell said. “Local spending is also important to our schools, our fire departments, our sheriff and police departments.
Gordon County seems to be leading the way in this effort. Brazell said her committee talked to chambers in several surrounding counties, and “no one around had a program like this.”
“Stop, Shop, Go Gordon” has been a tremendous success, she said.
“We plant to survey our partners and find out what worked, what didn’t work and what we need to change,” Brazell said.
In 2010, “Stop, Shop, Go Gordon” hopes to have more than 70 local business partners for the first full year of the program, Brazell said.
The effort has received some seed money from the Chamber’s Small Business Committee, and the city of Calhoun and Gordon County — both of which see sales tax revenues rise when local spending increases — will help fund the program, as well.
A key component in the 2010 program will be measuring the local impact.
“We want to find out what the actual financial impact is, including the multiplier effect as the spending ripples through the local economy,” Brazell said.