Local First Arizona and METRO Light Rail are teaming-up on an advertising campaign to encourage people to shop at locally-owned businesses near the light rail line. Kimber Lanning, director of Local First Arizona, talks about the partnership.
Ted Simons: Local First Arizona, a group that promotes buying from locally owned businesses, is now launching a campaign to get folks to buy locally along the light rail line. Here to talk about it is Kimber Lanning of Local First Arizona. Good to see you again, thanks for joining us.
Kimber Lanning: You as well. Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: What are the goals here with this? Obviously the thing is called Shift the Way You Shop. How are we supposed to shift the way we shop?
Ted Simons: We're reminding people on a regular basis the more they can buy close to home, from close to home businesses, manufactured at home, anything regarding local, the better off our economy's going to be. The main message here in a big picture way is that the economy is not something far, far away someone else is going to fix for us. The economy is something we own. The more we choose to support local businesses and on a grander scale American business, the more dollars stay and recirculate which causes an increase in revenue for libraries and Fire Departments and new jobs.
Ted Simons: You're talking about changing consumer buying patterns essentially?
Kimber Lanning: Absolutely. Little tiny increments actually make a huge difference. This campaign group from a study in Grand Rapids in Michigan that came out in 2009. And that study showed that if everyone one community, the size of Tucson, everybody in that community shifted 10% of their spending from a national company to a local company,it would create $130 million new dollars recirculating as well as 1600 brand-new jobs. It's not black or white, we're not saying support only local.
Ted Simons: Umm hmmâ€¦.
Kimber Lanning: But there are small things you can do that will make a huge difference.
Ted Simons: And obviously there are some folks who say, listen, if I want to buy from a chain, I know the tax dollars are going to go into the community, you can't convince me buying locally is any different from buying from a chain is that different. How do you convince them?
Kimber Lanning: Sure, and a lot of people make that mistake. If we're talking about retail clerks and sales tax, they have a point. But that's not what we are measuring. A local guy hires a local CPA, web developer, and the list goes on and on and the dollars continue to circulate. The third area sometimes just looking at straight-up jobs. We have a lot of nationals that do great with jobs and benefits. But we have a lot of nationals frankly that offer jobs with no health care benefits. Of course they are cheaper, we're subsidizing their health care. I would be cheaper, too, if everybody else paid for my health care.
Ted Simons: Now we know why we want to change consumer buying patterns. How do you do that?
Kimber Lanning: We show people how easy it is. And one of the ways we do it is by this new campaign we are launching. Make it easy for people to find local businesses and help remind them, sometimes people have forgotten, they lead-off unique experience. You've eaten at that place five times, and maybe you've ordered the same thing every time. The chef might come out and sit at the table and talk to you and your family. It's about experimenting and finding new businesses. There are a lot of great boutiques and shops to find unique gift ideas. We have local bookstores, on and on and on, there are plenty of options out there.
Ted Simons: I know you're working with metro light rail regarding a marketing campaign. We have pictures I guess of wrapping a train or something?
Kimber Lanning: Yes we are! We have a brand-new light rail wrap for Shift The Way You Shop. I'm thrilled with it, it's very 10 exciting. The inaugural run is tomorrow, I call her she, she goes out live tomorrow. It's going to be accompanied by a mobile site. This is a very exciting time. It's going to educate people about all the cool local places want half mile of each light rail stop.
Ted Simons: So when you say a mobile site, you are on the train, you're rolling along and here comes the stop, do you press into your mobile phone?
Kimber Lanning: You go to shiftarizona.com. And using the GPS system on the phone, it's going to tell you everything that's going come up at that next light rail stop. Restaurants, retail and entertainment. There will be information inside of the train. There will be a QR code if you'd rather snap a picture; it'll take you right to the site. What I think is one of the most exciting features is that even if you're sitting at home on your desktop, you can go to shiftarizona.com and look at what's around each one of these light-rail stations. That will enable to you plan your trip. If you're going downtown Tempe for an event or downtown Phoenix.
Ted Simons: You take a picture, that's a QR code?
Kimber Lanning: You take a picture of that and it'll take you right to the website.
Ted Simons: I wouldn't know what that thing was. I thought it was a nice little design down there. What kind of shops? Restaurants, retail? What's on the list?
Kimber Lanning: All of the above, restaurants, retail and a lot of entertainment facilities. We have a lot of museums and historical things along the light rail line. Those will be included. There will also be a listing of events. So let's say you want to know, hey, I'm in town for the weekend. I'm hitting these businesses. The 7th Avenue street fair is this weekend. Get off at the next stop and that's a huge street fair. It could be yoga at the downtown park on Saturday. As you're traveling through, it's going alert to you the fun things going on right around you.
Ted Simons: How long will it be active?
Kimber Lanning: Through the end of January. Metro light rail has been phenomenal in helping us pull this together. It'll run right through the holidays. E. B. Lane put all the graphics together for us, a long-time Arizona company put the graphics together for us.
Ted Simons: You mentioned tomorrow is going to be like a special event. You're going to be like a tour guide or something?
Kimber Lanning: I am. I'm going to do my first run as tour guide. Anybody interested in joining us can come out to the Apache and Dorsey station in Tempe at 5 o'clock, board the train on the inaugural run to 3rd and mill. We are going to explore some of the Congresswoman Ellison's favorite stops. We have prizes, Tempe trivia, we're going explore Mill Avenue. Then we go to the transportation center on 5th, that's a totally leed certified building. There's a bike seller there, many people don't know. You can ride your bike in, shower there, and get on the light rail and finish your trek.
Ted Simons: You go to downtown Phoenix and uptown Phoenix, every stop is kind of like a local personality who's going to show us around?
Kimber Lanning: Absolutely. On the 18th you can join us with Council Tom Simplot from the city of Phoenix, and on 20th you can join us with Postino owner know Craig DiMarco next. And they are all going to show us their favorite light rail shops and their favorite business around there.
Ted Simons: Last question: You've been pushing this for a while. I know it's getting some traction. Is it getting the kind of traction you want, you expected? Or is it still a ways to go?
Kimber Lanning: It's somewhere in between. We're thrilled with the traction. When we started way back when, and you were there a as supporter, there were four or five coalitions in the country. Today there are 145 coalitions in North America that are buy local coalitions. Local first Arizona is the largest. We have nearly 2000 members and we're making a significant impact. At shiftarizona.com there's a calculator where individuals can go and enter their monthly expenditures. When you say, I pledge to shift 10%, it'll show you how much you're putting back into the local economy. We've had nearly $50 million pledged across the state.
Ted Simons: Sounds like a good time starting tomorrow on the train. We'll keep an eye out for the shift Arizona train.
Kimber Lanning: Please do.
Ted Simons: And good luck. Thanks for joining us.
Kimber Lanning: Thank you so much.
Kimber Lanning:Director, Local First Arizona;