Designed to drive economic development and promote patronage to its members, the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce launched its new “Go Local” business campaign at Tuesday’s Business After Hours event.

The chamber opted to kick-off the 2017 Business After Hours series by hosting the January event at its downtown office. Generally open to only chamber members, the BAH invitation was extended to the community-at-large, giving past and potential members the opportunity to network alongside active chamber participants.

During the program, guests were given their first look at the “Go Local” logo, which includes the tagline, “Live. Shop. Work. Learn.” New board chairman Jim Petty explained that “Go Local” has a two-fold objective, with the first being to drive economic development and therefore, increase local tax revenue. It will also provide a promotional benefit to chamber members through cooperative marketing and branding of the “Go Local” image.

“This campaign is about keeping our dollars here at home,” Petty said. “We encourage citizens and business owners to be mindful of where they shop so that Van Buren can benefit from the tax revenue. As the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce, it is our duty to promote patronage to our members and those within our city limits. Dollars spent here, whether they be for groceries, fuel, hardware supplies, movie tickets, dinners out, or on repairs to your home or automobile, are crucial to our town’s continued success.”

During his presentation, Petty explained the true economic impact that local purchases have on the city’s economy. “For every $100 spent locally, $68 stays here in our community. In addition, the velocity in which the dollars ‘turn over’ in our community is much faster when you buy local.”

Chamber leaders note that the campaign will encompass all members, and not just traditional stores and service providers.

“Go Local gives us an opportunity to celebrate all of the diverse industries our members represent,” Petty said. “Through this campaign, we hope to highlight our businesses, as well as our schools, our churches, our non-profits, our recreational activities, and all the other fields that comprise our membership base. Van Buren has so much to offer and we intend to showcase that with our ‘Go Local’ message.”

The Van Buren chamber will offer its members “Go Local” window clings, and posters that tout messages about the importance of spending their money at home. Some include “Put your money where your heart is,” and “Local dollars make cents!” Staff will also provide members with digital marketing tools to integrate in their email, social media, and websites at no charge.

Additional details about the campaign will be released in the coming weeks, along with marketing materials that will be available exclusively to chamber members. Businesses and organizations interested in obtaining the promotional items can contact Lindsey Brown at the chamber at (479) 474-2761 or via email, Lindsey@VanBurenChamber.org.