Local Shopping Benefits Small Town Buyers

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Brianna Brown, Reporter

The majority of students at DHS who were interviewed for a recent El Diablo story did not see the benefits of buying locally and were just concerned about fashion. However, many local stores are working hard to change the way students think about shopping.

Sophomore Lana Razma said, “I enjoy shopping out of town more than locally because it is something I get to look forward too. Also, there is more variety and I am not stuck with the same clothes as everybody at school.”

Many parents decide on where their kids should shop. Some prefer to shop locally because it is easier and helps Durango’s economy. Others think it is nice to go on vacation and shop because it is more fun.

“I usually buy used clothing but then I’ll also go to TJ Maxx, Sears, JC Pennys or things like that. For the little bit of shopping I do, yes I would say I shop more locally. When I go on vacations shopping for my kids is really the last thing I want to do,” said English teacher Elizabeth Dillman.

Local owners are desperately wanting shoppers to buy more from their stores than from out of town. There are actually organizations in Durango that work hard to promote and encourage shoppers to stay in Durango.

We all know Durango doesn’t have a huge selection like bigger cities, but you would be surprised by the offerings, friendliness, and graciousness of our local independent businesses when you make it a point to shop with them,” said Kate Hallock, a community coordinator for Local First. Local First is an organization that uses coupons to promote sales for local businesses.

Animas Trading Company is one of the many stores that benefit from advertising through Local First. They get regular traffic from tourists on Main Street, but they definitely encourage repeat business from Durango regulars.

Most high-schoolers will attend college out of state, or to the front range where malls and larger companies will be more accessible. But Durango will always be the small mountain town you will come home to, and appreciate for it’s unique local businesses untouched by big corporations,” said Willa Vaughan, manager at Animas Trading Company.

Although shopping out of town creates a better fashion sense, and more variety; shopping locally provides tax income to the city of Durango. When shoppers purchase locally the purchases provide tax money for things like public safety, street maintenance, parks and recreation and the public library. Shopping locally keeps the town running smoothly and some of this tax money even funds the district’s schools.   

Assistant City Manager MaryBeth Miles said,  “Sales taxes generate over 60%, approximately 18 million dollars, of our general fund which provides many of the necessary services that the city provides. Without the sales taxes that are generated by local sales the city would not be able to provide police services: the recreation center and the library would be closed.”

Many students and citizens in Durango do not realize how important the local economy is for the education system.

The Executive Director of the Durango Education Foundation, Elizabeth Testa, said, “Not only do local businesses support the school system in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of property taxes, many parents are employed in the local economy which puts food in the students’ stomachs and roofs over their heads.”

Many students often turn to local businesses to help fund their co-curricular activities. If students stop shopping locally and providing that extra money maybe those local businesses will have no more to give.

“As a small town we do not have the options of larger brand companies such as Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Brandy Melville. But, when you’re spending your money at these companies, do you really know where your money is going?” said Vaughan.

Shopping locally also provides for the economic well being of the community as the more sales done locally, the more jobs are available for citizens.

“All in all, the lesson to learn is that we all get to vote with our money, and recognizing that where we spend our money has a direct effect on our community and quality of life here, now and in the future,” said Hallock.