Buy-local campaign kicks off

Published 9:35 pm Saturday, May 5, 2012

The city’s Department of Economic Development wants to encourage the city’s residents to show their love for Suffolk.

Kicking off a new “Love Local: Buy Suffolk” campaign, the department is urging businesses to register to participate and gearing up local consumers for the campaign.

“It’s something we’ve been looking into for a while,” said Kevin Hughes, director of Economic Development. “It’s the idea, ‘I’m going to spend an additional $10 in the community versus going to a big box retailer.”

The city's Love Local: Buy Suffolk initiative is getting under way.

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Hughes introduced the campaign at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. The first phase of the rollout is encouraging businesses to sign up by registering on the Independent We Stand website, a cooperative of locally-owned, independent businesses dedicated to educating their communities about the benefits of buying local.

According to Independent We Stand, if every family in Hampton Roads spent an extra $10 a month at a locally-owned, independent business instead of a national chain, more than $51 million would return to the regional economy in the form of private investment and tax dollars.

“It’s kind of a recognition of our community as well as our businesses working together,” Hughes said.

The “Love Local: Buy Suffolk” campaign will feature window decals for participating businesses and brochures for businesses to hand out. It also will include videos, commercials and advertisements spotlighting local business owners.

“We’re developing those right now,” Hughes said, adding that businesses that have already signed on are excited. “I think they’re always looking for an opportunity to increase their customer base.”

Also important, Hughes said, are the products of national businesses that employ hundreds of people at plants in Suffolk — businesses such as Lipton, Massimo Zanetti and Planters.

“It’s something that we’ve always kind of tried to do, asking ‘Are you using Lipton tea? Are you using Massimo Zanetti coffee?’” Hughes said. “We want everyone to have that pride within the city,” Hughes said.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson also supports the buy-local initiative.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our diverse and dynamic business community,” Johnson stated in a press release. “By supporting our local businesses and the Love Local, Buy Suffolk campaign, we are able to help our businesses grow and preserve the unique character of this wonderful city.”

Businesses can visit the Independent We Stand website ( to sign up or call 514-4049 for more information.