TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -As small businesses continue to face financial hardships; many closing their doors for good, a movement is taking off in Tucson. “Keep Local Alive” is helping redirect funds to struggling establishments.
“It was a real challenge being closed for three months basically,” said Julie Penny, the owner of Piece by Piece Wear at St. Philip’s Plaza. “I had to figure out how to pay the rent, so I would post pictures on social media and say, ‘I will deliver this to your front door’, and I would run around town delivering things. There was a month that we were down 89%. So, that was a rough month. But the holidays finally picked up and we remain hopeful.”
Penny believes in supporting local designers. She carries several one-of-a-kind handcrafted items at her boutique.
“This month is our 31st anniversary,” Penny said.
To keep her business open for years to come, the community will need to share the same value of buying local.
That’s why she was excited to meet Bobby Johnson, who stopped by her shop Tuesday evening to talk about the “Move 20 Save Local” initiative he helped start.
“It’s through Facebook – it’s a Facebook group – and the movement is specifically about moving from words to action when it comes to supporting locally owned independent businesses,” said Johnson. “Because, frankly, there’s a lot of lip service that’s given to support local, but not a lot of action.”
Keep Local Alive Tucson already has more than 1,000 members. The idea is to get people to share pictures and recommendations of their favorite small businesses.
“Take the pledge,” said Johnson. “Take $20 that you would normally spend at a chain restaurant or a big box store and move that $20 that week over to a locally owned independent. That’s $80 a month. If you spend [your money at places like Piece by Piece Wear] versus a big box store or Amazon, over half your money is going to stay here and recirculate.”
According to the Move 20 Save Local calculator, if $80 from every resident in the Tucson metro area was redirected to local establishments each month, $871,853,580 would go back into the local economy by the end of the 2021.
“I think it’s incredible that people out of the goodness of their heart make sure that local businesses are taken care of,” said Penny. “Support small, shop small. These guys are helping to make it happen.”