With the holiday season underway and shopping climbing toward its Christmas crescendo, the Greater Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture is looking to encourage people to look locally for gifts and other holiday necessities.
December is Buy Local Month in the Ruby Valley and it’s the perfect time to rediscover what local businesses have to offer, said Carol Delisi, president of the GRVCCA.
“We value our local businesses and I think, personally, that during the holidays when we’re going to be out shopping and wandering around our towns anyways, it’s a great time to buy local,” Delisi said.
The chamber started their buy local effort back in March. Since then they’ve developed several promotional items including window stickers, logos and a buy local display board that rotates around through local businesses.
The GRVCCA serves the entire Ruby Valley including the communities of Alder, Twin Bridges and Sheridan. Like in many rural areas, people in the Ruby Valley shop locally and in places like Dillon, Butte and Bozeman. The Buy Local program isn’t trying to get people to quit shopping in bigger towns, but rather to consider first what is available locally, Delisi said.
“I just think shopping locally is such a time saver,” she said.
Plus, most local businesses will special order items for you if they don’t have them in stock, Delisi said.
One thing she has seen and heard from people around the area since the chamber began the Buy Local program is surprise at how much is available locally, she said. It makes sense now to finish off the first year of the program with a month celebrating doing business locally.
“It’s the appropriate time to say okay now we’re going to dedicate the whole month to buying local,” Delisi said.
The challenge going forward is going to be keeping the momentum going, said Sarah Miller, owner of Jumping Rainbow Espresso in Twin Bridges.
Miller has worked diligently on the Buy Local program in the Ruby Valley and feels like the group has gained some momentum.
Her hope is that Buy Local Month in the Ruby Valley can stimulate conversation between community members and business owners about doing business locally.
Sometimes local businesses are worried about hearing what consumers have to say. The concern is that consumers will say prices are too high, Miller said.
However, the health of local businesses depends on consumers and business owners listening to each other, she said.
The Buy Local program is really geared to educate both consumers and business owners both – consumers on the importance of buying locally and about what local businesses have to offer and businesses on what drives consumers to shop elsewhere and how to keep them local, Miller said.
“I’m hoping with all the buy local stuff we’re putting out there in the community that we’ll get the conversation going,” she said. “Hopefully we get good participation and some good discussion out of it.”
The chamber’s Buy Local Committee has planned several events during the month of December.
The group will have booths at the Christmas strolls in both Twin Bridges and Sheridan. The booth will be at Main Street Market for the Twin Bridges’ Christmas Stroll Thursday, Dec. 2 and at Beacon Business Center for the Sheridan Christmas Stroll Friday, Dec. 3.
The group is also presenting two showings of the movie “Independent America,” which documents the efforts of small independent businesses in America. The movie showing will be followed by a discussion about the film and refreshments.
The movie will be shown Dec. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Sheridan Library and Dec. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Twin Bridges Schools Montana Room.
There will also be a community cookie exchange at the River’s Edge Gallery in Twin Bridges on Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. This event is designed to bring the community together for an opportunity to celebrate the holidays. People don’t need to bring cookies or recipes, but can just come and enjoy getting together with their friends and neighbors, Miller said.
For more information about Buy Local month, look at the GRVCCA’s website at www.rubyvalleychamber.com.