Last fall, the Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce launched a “Come In – We’re Local” campaign in order to support Palatine’s businesses and residents. Window stickers advertising the program are displayed all over the village.
“The purpose of the campaign is to make sure that Palatine residents understand that when they spend $100 in a local community store, $48 of those dollars stay in Palatine. When they shop at an in-town chain outlet, however, only $14 of those dollars stay in Palatine and when they buy from a remote online store, less than $1 comes to Palatine,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steven Gaus, Chamber President Shawn Jackson and former Chamber President Jan Wood said.
Chamber leadership is using the campaign to educate the public about the importance of shifting their thought processes and buying from local storefronts and patronizing local services and institutions instead of buying online or in other communities.
“This is a community engagement program for both businesses and consumers,” Gaus said. “We are working to convey the importance of supporting local businesses, to increase local tax revenue without increasing local property taxes. Palatine realizes 48 times more tax revenue when residents buy within Palatine than when they purchase needed items online.”
Consequently, when residents purchase their products and supplies from Amazon or another online retailer, they are shortchanging their local community.
“We are trying to raise awareness among residents about the importance of patronizing local businesses as much as possible,” Gaus said. “It is vital to remember that local Palatine area businesses employ your neighbors, and support your schools and local village government services. The sales tax and property taxes provided by these businesses also help keep the residential property taxes at the lowest levels possible. Twenty-three percent of Palatine’s general fund income is derived from sales taxes that residents and non-residents pay when they purchase items at businesses in the village,” Gaus said.
In fact, according to Mike Jacobs, assistant village manager, for 2018, sales taxes will account to 21.5 percent of the village’s general fund revenues, which equates to $12.25 million of the $57 million in general fund revenues.
“So, if you want to see Palatine thrive, you need to think local when you are purchasing needed items,” Wood added. “Likewise, you need to patronize our local hardware and grocery stores, nail salons, accountants, restaurants and pet groomers to ensure Palatine stays vibrant.”
“Even buying from big chain stores and franchisees within Palatine is better for the community than buying online,” Gaus said.
“Come In – We’re Local” is a village-wide initiative that is open to local stores, service businesses, contractors and others based in and doing business in Palatine.
“We are actively reaching out to local businesses and organizations to convey to them the importance of this Shop Local initiative to the quality of life for everyone in Palatine because tax income provides money for the local services and capital improvements that everyone wants and many depend upon,” Jackson noted.
Last summer, the Chamber’s Think Local Committee actively sought support from businesses all over Palatine for the program and most were reportedly very receptive to the program that aims to help local brick and mortar businesses compete with online merchants.
Participating businesses now sport red window decals that say “Come In, We’re Local” on the way in the door and “Thank You for Shopping Local” on the way out the door. Digital message boards around the village are also promoting the idea of Shopping Local.
“We are also reaching out to the library, park district, community organizations and schools to ask them to help us promote this effort,” Wood said.
“We are trying to partner with everyone to communicate the importance of this initiative and the many benefits it will provide,” Gaus added. “We are working to educate residents about who the local merchants are, what they do/sell and where they are located. We want to let people know about our hidden gems who may not have the advertising budgets to let everyone continuously know where they are and what they can do for them.”
To accomplish those goals, “we just need to shift people’s thinking and educate them on the businesses located in Palatine and how they are shortchanging the community if they are spending all of their money online,” he said. “Remember that every sales tax dollar that we bring into Palatine means that one fewer property tax dollar needs to be levied.”
On September 8, the Chamber will hold “Explore Palatine,” an event encouraging residents to walk around Palatine to visit stores, restaurants and even the library instead of logging onto the internet to accomplish tasks. Think/Shop Local Palatine!