Hawaii County Mayor to Proclaim December “Think Local, Buy Local” Month

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi will read a proclamation on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 10:30 am at the Mo’oheau Bandstand in Hilo declaring December as Think Local, Buy Local month.

The mayor will be joined by Randy Kurohara, director of the Department of Research and Development, Hilo Downtown Improvement Association, Hawai‘i Alliance for a Local Economy and local business owners. The event is free and open to the public—light refreshments and entertainment to follow the reading of the declaration.

The Hawai‘i Alliance for a Local Economy (HALE) under the auspices of Sustain Hawai‘i is working under contract with the county Department of Research and Development to develop and launch a pilot public education initiative which highlights how purchasing locally made and grown products and shopping at locally owned businesses can benefit the community, environment and economy of Hawai‘i Island.

The Think Local, Buy Local initiative is being launched in downtown Hilo in partnership with the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and 40 locally owned businesses. Participating Hilo businesses are displaying Think Local, Buy Local window signs and highlighting Made on Hawai‘i Island products. A cornerstone of the initiative is the Black and White Night/Think Local, Buy Local button which offers Hawai‘i Island residents discounts at participating locally owned businesses throughout the holiday season. Buttons are $5 and are available at the Hilo Information Center at the Mo’oheau Bus Station, Palace Theatre, Diabolik Surf and Glass and Basically Books.

Think Local, Buy Local is launching in downtown Hilo and expanding island-wide. Instead of a discount button, businesses outside of the downtown Hilo area will be offering coupons online at www.ThinkLocalBuyLocal.org to incentivize residents to think and buy local this holiday season.

A 2010 national report on “buy local” campaigns found that communities with an active “buy local” campaign experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to communities without such a campaign and independent retailers in “buy local” communities saw a 5.2 percent increase in holiday sales, while those elsewhere reported an average gain of less than 1 percent. During the holiday season, the Think Local, Buy Local campaign will be focusing attention on Hawai‘i Island grown and made products and locally owned businesses.

“Local businesses have always been the backbone of our economy,” said Mayor Kenoi. “During these challenging economic times, a renewed focus on products and food produced on Hawai‘i Island and on island-owned businesses is good for our economy and our community.”

To learn more and participate in Think Local, Buy Local visit www.ThinkLocalBuyLocal.org or call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.

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