Buying local makes for happy holidaysWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Duane Ramsey
Toledo Free Press Senior Business Writer
Holiday shoppers are being encouraged to buy products and services from locally owned independent businesses.
If each household in Lucas County redirected $100 to a locally owned store or business, it could add as much as $8 million in revenue to the local economy, according to Toledo Choose Local, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the importance of supporting local businesses.
“Everyone can support the Toledo area economy by buying from local retailers, restaurants, service and other businesses,” said John Mancy, co-owner of the family-owned Mancy’s restaurants, who serves on the board of directors for Toledo Choose Local.
“A lot of local businesses are helping to support each other by buying goods and services from them.”
John is one of three brothers and two cousins who operate the Mancy family’s four restaurants that employ about 240 persons. The family has been in the local restaurant business since 1921 and today operates Mancy’s Steakhouse on Phillips Avenue, Mancy’s Italian Grille and Shorty’s Barbeque, both on Monroe Street, and Mancy’s Bluewater Grille on Dussel Drive in Maumee.
For every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $44 stays in the local economy, while only $20 of every $100 spent in nonlocal businesses does, according to an economic impact study conducted by the UT Urban Affairs Center. More money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses often purchase products and services from other local companies and providers, the study indicated.
Libbey is a good example of “buy local” because much of the glass products are manufactured at the plant operated by the company in Toledo since 1888. Libbey was also a major sponsor that provided all glassware, tableware and kitchen items for the recent “Extreme Home Makeover” project.
Libbey’s products are sold in local retail stores, but are also available at the Libbey Factory Outlet Store located in the Erie Street Market in Downtown. A variety of glassware, dinnerware and holiday products stocked at the outlet store provide a large selection of holiday gift ideas.
“Like most retailers, the holiday season is the biggest selling period of the year for us,” said Tom Lower, manager of the Libbey outlet store.
Another local holiday favorite is the selection of gift ideas from Hickory Farms based in Holland. The company opened its first retail store in Toledo in 1951 and has been selling cheese, sausage and food gift packs at its local outlet sore in Maumee, other stores and kiosks at shopping centers and online at www.hickoryfarms.com.
Hickory Farms is supporting an organization called Share Our Strength that is working to make sure no kid in America goes hungry. A donation of $1 with a purchase can make a big difference in providing three meals to a hungry individual. To learn more, visit the Web site www.strength.org.
There are many locally owned florists, gift shops and other retailers in the Toledo area that depend upon the business of local consumers year round, especially during the holiday season.
Mona Shousher, manager of Loft and Home Essentials located on Central Avenue, west of Interstate 475, believes it is important for small businesses to give back to the community. The retail shop offers a contemporary line of home accessories, small furniture, gifts and jewelry.
Shousher and Loft & Home Essentials participated in the YWCA’s third annual Celebrity Wait Night fundraiser hosted at the Navy Bistro the week of Nov. 16. She also belongs to Chicks for Charity, a women’s organization that raised money for Assistance Dogs of America as its annual cause in 2008.
John DuVall, owner of a home furnishings store called Honey I’m Home, located on Sylvania near Talmadge, became involved in the establishment of Toledo Choose Local and is serving as its first president.
Consumers can shop at locally owned retailers, such as The Andersons, The Appliance Center, Banner Mattress & Furniture, Churchill’s supermarkets, Curb’s Candle Company, Earth Food Co-op, Gen’s Hallmark Shop, Maumee Valley Growers, Swan Creek Candle Company, Wersell’s Bike & Ski Shop, WizardKids Toys and Z-One Auto, which has sold automotive and truck parts and services in the area for nearly 30 years.
However, it’s not just local retail stores and shops that consumer can support but locally owned restaurants and service businesses.
AM Renaissance Photography is a family-owned and minority-operated business that offers portrait, event and customized photography services. Allan Smith has operated the photography studio since 1985 and is a founding member of Toledo Choose Local.
The organization will celebrate the second annual “Choose Local Week!” starting Nov. 29 and concluding with its Holiday Gala on Dec. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the 20 North Gallery in Downtown. It includes a local business scavenger hunt with a raffle of prizes going to the winners.
Toledo Choose Local is a member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economics. It offers paid memberships to independently owned businesses in the Toledo area, as well as individuals and organizations that support local businesses
For more information, visit the Web site www.toledochooselocal.com.