It’s a smart thing to do

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

At the end of July, the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce launched a bold campaign designed to keep more spending local. The “Buy Mower/Grow Mower” effort asks residents and business owners to shift 10 percent of their annual out-of-county spending back into the county to help improve the local economy and increase our quality of life.

If you spend $500 a year out of town, they ask you to spend $450.

This sounds pretty good to us.

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“The idea of it is based on the fact that in Austin and Mower County, we have net retail sales leakage,” said Sandy Forstner, chamber executive director, citing a University of Minnesota study. “That is to say we have less retail sales than similar communities.”

“Buy Mower/Grow Mower” could also help our environment. Saving the trips out of county, in return, saves on using gas.

We know it’s unrealistic to buy everything local. If you travel to the Twin cities to visit relatives for a week, we don’t expect you to drive all the way back to Austin to go out to dinner or bypass the Mall of America because you’d feel guilty.

But it is realistic to buy here whenever possible, especially as the holiday season nears.

On Monday night, Forstner took his campaign to the Austin City Council to ask for its endorsement. The council members listened to Forstner and said they would take Forstner’s recommendations and address them at a future work session.

Fair enough.

The bottom line is that “Buy Mower/Grow Mower” is a good thing for Mower County, including Austin.