Groups stress shopping locally

Nov 19, 2011

The "buy local" appeal is building support in Hood River, from city council to local nonprofits and business groups.

Several events are happening toward the goal of keeping local buyers at local stores this holiday season.

"I think one of the most important things we strive for at the chamber is to do business with members, and local people to keep their money local," said Kerry Cobb, executive director of Hood River Chamber of Commerce.

At the Nov. 14 City Council meeting, Hood River Mayor Arthur Babitz read a "shop locally" proclamation, adopted by the council.

The proclamation reads, in part, that "locally owned, independent businesses are critical to maintaining a socially, environmentally and financially sustainable local economy for its citizens."

The "GO! Local Month" was launched Thursday at the Gorge Grown Farmers Market, the final one for the season at Hood River Middle School.

The Local Challenge, organized by Gorge Owned Business Network, operates like this: Go to www.gorgeowned.org and fill out an online form. Make three purchases totaling at least $50 during GO! Local Month, Nov. 17 to Dec. 31.

Downtown Hood River merchants are holding a weekend-long "open house" Nov. 19-20 with special deals.

Sunday's Mt. Adams Soroptimist Bazaar gives a boost, under one roof, to dozens of Gorge-based businesses.

The 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. event will be at the Best Western Hood River Inn's Gorge Room and will feature jewelry, metal art, alpaca garments, pottery, glassware, paintings, cards and more.

"We hope that people will come from all over to support these small businesses and Soroptimist, and have a great time doing it," said Ginger Swanson, an event coordinator.

"This event is not just a sale," said Kathleen O'Connor-McNew, Mt. Adams co-president and sales manager at the Hood River Inn. "With the festive atmosphere, it's a holiday event. The artisans offer such unique products and give people the opportunity to shop locally for one-of-a-kind, affordable gifts."

The artisans also donate 10 percent of their sales, as well as items for a raffle at the end of the day, to Soroptimist of Mt. Adams.

"We're so appreciative of their support of our projects to improve the lives of women and girls," Swanson said. The Inn is donating use of the space for the event.

Cobb said, "It's encouraging that all these groups are coming together with all these activities with the same goal of keeping it local," Cobb said.

On Dec. 1, the next Business After Hours will be 5-7 at Naked Winery, and other shops will be open later that night, according to Cobb.

"We're encouraging people to shop locally, and during Hood River Holidays we're promoting downtown and the Heights as places to do their shopping," Cobb said.

The annual, and expanded, downtown holiday lighting ceremony and parade is scheduled for Dec. 2 starting at 6 p.m.

City Proclamation:

Whereas, Hood River, Oregon, is dedicated to maintaining its identity as a livable town and unique destination that fosters independent, innovative businesses; and

Whereas, locally owned, independent businesses create jobs, pay taxes and contribute significantly to their communities; and

Whereas, the "Gorge Owned Business Network," a project of the Columbia Gorge Earth Center, is dedicated to advancing Gorge-owned businesses with a commitment to a sustainable and prosperous regional economy and increasing the vitality and prosperity of Hood River's locally owned, independent businesses through education, networking and marketing; and

Whereas, supporting locally owned, independent businesses is in the best interest of Hood River-area residents - and residents throughout the Gorge -to help maintain our quality of life;

Now, therefore, I, Arthur Babitz, Mayor of the City of Hood River, do hereby proclaim the week following Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25 through Dec. 4, 2011) to be GO Local Week in Hood River.

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