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Deco District Featured in News-Times Article

On August 19, 2009, the City Center Newport Association, commonly referred to as the Deco District, was featured in an article in the Newport News-Times.

The following article provides a great example of other merchant associations coming together and getting behind the "Buy Local" message. The Buy Local Lincoln County Association encourages all merchant associations to create their own logos and tag lines or adapt ours to meet their needs. While the BLLCA has a much more broader definition of local, there is definitely something to be said for local and independent businesses compared to franchise and chain/big-box stores.

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With Art Deco August - a month of special events celebrating Newport's art deco heritage - still in full swing, members of the City Center Newport Association continues to support independent locally-owned businesses with its Deco District Buy Local Campaign.

The association aims to promote and preserve the city center of Newport as an Art Deco Heritage Area; boost public awareness about the art deco era; promote the art, architecture, fashion, transportation, media, and history of art deco popular culture; and serve as a collective voice for City Center on ordinances, city policies, member issues, and economic development.

The idea is to keep City Center "vital and profitable," and one way to do that is to "keep the green in Lincoln County" by buying at locally owned stores rather than "big box" chain stores.

Association leaders say big-box, chain and franchise stores function like colonizers: they siphon dollars out of the local economy.

"Purchases at a locally owned independent store send a ripple of economic benefits throughout the local community," association leaders say. "This is because local stores recycle a much larger share of their sales revenue back into the local economy, while chains siphon most of the dollars spent out of the community, funneling them back to corporate headquarters and to distant suppliers."

One 2004 study conducted in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood by the firm Civic Economics found that spending $100 at one of the neighborhood's independent businesses created $68 in additional local economic activity, while spending $100 at a chain produced only $43 worth of local impact.

Locally owned businesses spent a larger share of their revenue on local labor (29 vs. 23 percent), because they carried out all management functions on site, rather than a corporate headquarters.

Local Impact

Local retailers spent more than twice as much buying goods and services from other local businesses. They banked locally; hired local accountants, attorneys, designers, and other professionals; advertised in local media; and sourced inventory from local firms.

Because their owners live in the area, a larger portion of the local retailers' profits stayed in the local economy.

The local retailers donated more on average to local charities and community organizations than the chains did.

"Added dollars circulating in the local economy translate into a larger number and wider variety of available jobs," the association notes.

In Pocket

It's also part of revitalizing the deco ditict, which includes the Art Deco Heritage Park - a "pocket park" planned at the corner of Coast and Hurbert streets. The park, which features a partnership of the association, the City of Newport, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would serve as "a symbol that the district is emerging from decades of neglect" and is ready for investment in more of those local businesses that provide the foundation for the local economy.

The City Center Newport association consists of merchants, service providers, property owners, artists, and others who want to preserve Newport's art deco heritage. City officials approved designation of the district as an Art Deco Heritage Area in 2007. To find out more, go to www.citycenternewport.com.

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The views expressed in the preceeding article are not those of the Buy Local Lincoln County Association.

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