MIAMI — The Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce is kicking off a shop local campaign Saturday, Dec. 2 — and what better day to do that then Small Business Saturday.
Shoppers will write their name and phone number and put it in a box. There will be weekly drawings, then week before Christmas, a grand prizewinner will be announced.
Boxes have been delivered to participating merchants.
Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores, respectively.
It was a campaign launched by American Express in 2010 that encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.
And the Miami Chamber is taking things a step further, trying to convince shoppers to stay home and do their Christmas shopping.
“I think it just like a cultural change,” Howe said. “You have to show people that instead of your annual shopping trip being to Tulsa or Joplin, you’re right here in Miami. I think sometimes people forget what you have available in your own back yard.”
Miami offers more than 50 retail businesses.
“Sometimes people don’t realize it,” Howe said. People do not realize it’s all connected. If you want better streets, shop local. If you want better schools, shop local.
“I think that people forget when you shop local, it does a lot more than just support that local business. If you don't remind them gently every now and then, that is why they go out of town.”
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell touched on the importance of small businesses and “keeping it local” during a recent appearance here.
“We live or die on sales tax,” Pinnell said. “When I went around the state campaigning and planted my flag on tourism. I would talk to every mayor or city manager that I could, and yes, we would talk about education. Yes we talked about roads and bridges, but we also talked about Chick-fil-a coming to a town so we could collect more sales tax revenue.
“I am well aware of how important sales tax is. There are a lot of citizens who don't know.”
He said the state is exploring a campaign to encourage people to not cross over state lines to spend their money.
“Spend your money here in Miami, in Oklahoma, because it helps everything else out. It helps our mayors and communities to be able to operate.”