Lisa Wise, who owns a local business with her husband, thinks its time to put Davis County on the map, but not as a hotspot for big box retailers or the home of Hill AFB. As the volunteer chapter leader of the new Davis County branch of Local First, she wants people here to join the movement of shopping locally.
Local First is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 with the mission of educating the public and governments about the importance of local businesses to the community. Businesses with at least 51 percent local ownership and that operate independently can register for free on their website to be included in their directory. More than 2,700 businesses have done so.
Studies and advocacy materials provided by the group are free to anyone.
Local has chapters in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Provo and even Wayne County. Starting Thursday with a 5:30 to 7 p.m. kick-off party at Roosters Brewery in Layton, Davis County can add its name to the list.
We have long watched the progress of Local First, and are pleased to see its new focus on our area. It differs from organizations such as the Rotary Club and the Davis Chamber because of its education focus, but matches some of their goals of helping local business meet and cooperate. Local First is a welcome addition, but shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for, established business groups.
As a locally owned business, the Clipper and Utah Media Publishing appreciate Local First’s advocacy both in the public consciousness and politically. But realize that this group alone can’t solve the many problems small businesses are experiencing.
Instead, businesses must be their own best advocates. They must realize that it often takes more than pleasant ideas to get customers in their doors. For any business to succeed, it must offer real savings and a great customer experience.
It follows that businesses must let customers know about the specific benefits they offer through local advertising.
If they don’t, they run the risk of getting lost among the 2,700 other local businesses featured in the directory localfirst.org or other, similar directory sites.
We urge you to support this group, but not to stop there. The best way to advocate for local businesses and prove their importance is to build a good reputation for your own business.