Columbia organization encourages shopping locally during its Independents Week

Thursday, July 1, 2010 | 5:19 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Independence Day is just around the corner, and community members are faced with options — hot dogs or burgers, red or blue, big business or local shop.

For many consumers, the focus is on what to get, not necessarily where to get it.

Columbia Locally Owned Retail and Services, or COLORS, is encouraging community members to take its "indie challenge," and shop at local businesses this week.

It began its Independents Week by announcing the indie challenge Thursday morning at Uprise Bakery.

"Everyone is thinking about America this week," said Johanna Cox-Littrell, executive director of COLORS. "But also think about Boone County and your community." 

About 25 people attended the event, which included information about the challenge and two proclamations of support, signed by Mayor Bob McDavid and Gov. Jay Nixon.

Cox-Littrell said money circulates three to five times longer in the community when people shop locally. When shopping at chain stores, only an estimated 13 percent of spent money stays in the community, and next to nothing stays when shopping online.

Initiatives pushing for community members to shop locally are occurring across the country, such as in New Orleans and Belleville, Mich.

According to the COLORS website, shopping at individually owned businesses can help sustain local jobs and keep the community atmosphere unique.

The COLORS website has an online directory available of all local Columbia businesses.

Cox-Littrell said shopping locally could be as simple as going to Shakespeare's.

For Fourth of July needs, Cox-Littrell recommended the Columbia Farmers Market, Clovers Natural Market or the Root Cellar for fresh foods that keep money circulating in Columbia. 

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