Spend $20 on June 20

Published 12:14 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spend $20 in Suffolk on June 20, and you could win $100. Now there’s a good investment.

Shopping locally isn’t a hard concept, but it’s one that can escape the minds of Suffolk residents sometimes. Many shop at stores in Chesapeake, Norfolk and Portsmouth when merchants in Suffolk carry the same or similar items.

“The goal is to illustrate the power of spending even a few dollars with local merchants,” said Steve Stewart, interim publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald, which is spearheading the promotion. “The economic impact is tremendous when you can get all of your local citizens spending that money.”

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The promotion encourages all Suffolk residents to spend at least $20 with Suffolk merchants on Saturday, June 20. Even if only 30,000 Suffolk shoppers participate – far less than half of Suffolk’s population – the extra shopping would pump $600,000 into Suffolk’s economy.

Money spent locally has a positive effect on the local economy and jobs, Stewart said.

“Typically, local merchants spend money with other local merchants,” he said. “This is a pass-along effect. The odds are very good that money spent with a local merchant is going to stay in the local economy.”

Stewart noted that money spent with Suffolk businesses not only supports local jobs and the tax base, but also sustains nonprofit and civic organizations in the city.

“Those merchants are supportive of local good causes,” Stewart said.

Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson noted that the promotion will bring people’s attentions to all Suffolk has to offer.

“I think anything we can do to bring attention to everything we offer is a good thing,” Johnson said.

Kevin Hughes, interim director of economic development for the city, said the idea of shopping locally will benefit the community.

“I think it’s a great marketing idea for the Suffolk businesses, and it has the potential to show the impact of the almighty Suffolk dollar,” Hughes said. “Everyone benefits when the tax dollars stay locally.”

June 20 could be a good day for people to discover new stores or restaurants they have not yet patronized, Hughes added.

Angelia Armstrong, owner of the Red Thread Studio in downtown, agreed.

“Hopefully it will introduce people who’ve never been in some of the stores to what’s available locally in Suffolk,” she said. “I think it should have a positive effect.”

Armstrong added that even if people aren’t able to shop Saturday, shopping locally doesn’t have to end on June 20.

“Even if they don’t shop that day, hopefully they’ll come back another day,” she said.

Ashley Baird, owner of The Grater Kitchen store in North Suffolk, hopes the promotion will boost the local economy.

“There’s just not many people spending money right now,” she said. “This could pump it back into the economy so everybody can benefit.”

Dean McClain, director of the Suffolk/Portsmouth division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, said the promotion can help improve the tax base.

“From a business perspective, that’s great,” he said. “We always like to see the citizens keep their money in their hometowns … They may be helping their neighbor or their friend’s neighbor.”

McClain noted that in today’s “point-and-click society,” some people might be more comfortable with shopping at a local store’s Web site, which also will benefit that business, he said.

Shoppers who spend at least $20 at any of the News-Herald’s participating retailers can register to win $100. Many retailers also are offering discounts on June 20 with coupons found in Wednesday’s News-Herald. Participating retailers are:

Java Café

Baron’s Pub


Hair by Cristina Full Day Spa Inc.

The Grater Kitchen

Bond’s Fine Cigar Shoppe

Nail Time

Richardson and Nash Clothiers

LuAnn’s for Kids

A.J. Gator’s

The Red Thread Studio

Dashiell’s Showroom

Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy

Amici’s Pizza Café

Tony’s Trophies

Herb’s Original Cuts and Designs

The Knot Hole Station Ltd.