Heading out to eat dinner recently, I was struck once again (as I am every fall) by how dark it was at 5 p.m. and by how downtrodden the restaurant workers were.

‘It’s been sooo slow,’ said Ot Ritmaha, the manager at Thai Nakorn in Truckee, as he glumly looked around at the empty restaurant.

Our relatively small mountain community of North Tahoe and Truckee is highly vulnerable to the boom-and-bust cycle of a one-industry economy (tourism). We need to diversify our local economy; this much we know. But how do we do it?

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One response we’ve seen this fall is a string of campaigns encouraging people to ‘Think Local, Be Local and Buy Local.’

Truckee’s Commercial Row merchants hosted Downtown Truckee Tuesdays where local businesses enticed people to come take advantage of a slew of special deals during late summer, when business tends to slow down. On December 2, Rideout Community Center is offering to take care of your children while you shop and they are encouraging people to shop locally.

The Sierra Business Council (SBC) just wrapped up the Think Local First Festival, a week-long event to encourage people to ‘think local first’ when shopping and to celebrate the positive and unique aspects of our community.

On a list of talking points, SBC points out that the emphasis is on Think Local First: ‘We say Think Local First, NOT Think Local Only. We acknowledge that it’s not practical to meet all of our needs and desires locally.’

‘We are trying to support and foster what is positive in our local communities and economy,’ said Betony Jones, SBC program director.

 

Think Local!
A total of 110 people completed surveys passed out at the Sierra Business Council’s Think Local First Festival that gauged people’s shopping habits and what local means to them. Here’s a few results from the survey:

• 81 percent consider a locally-owned business as one where the owner lives in the city or county
• 35 percent shop at locally owned stores 50 to 75 percent of the time
• 41 percent shops at local stores less than 50 percent of the time

The top three benefits of purchasing from locally owned stores:
1) 79 percent: Benefits local economy
2) 48 percent: Convenience
3) 45 percent: Relationships with owners or employees

The top three reasons to shop at non-locally owned stores:
1) 75 percent: Prices
2) 59 percent: Selection
3) 49 percent: Convenience

For information on the survey, contact Betony Jones, 530-582-4800 x24, bjones@sbcouncil.org.

Author

  • Mayumi Peacock

    Hailing from a U.S. military family and a graduate of the University of Florida, Mayumi Peacock has lived in several corners of the country and globe, yet Tahoe/Truckee has been her home since 1999. She is founder and publisher of Moonshine Ink, the region’s award-winning independent newspaper, which continues to be created by, for, and of the community. Other passions include family, animals, books, healthy living, and humane food.

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