The Ceres Chamber of Commerce has been more aggressive than ever. It has made a noticeable push in the effort to revitalize downtown. Attendance at the annual Installation and Citizen of the Year Banquet in January was an all-time record setter. Now the Chamber is embarking on a Shop Locally campaign.
The Chamber message is simple and captured in a flyer that is circulating. The circular points out that locally owned businesses recirculate more money into the community than chain stores and that shopping locally embraces what makes Ceres different. The Chamber notes that local businesses tend to know their customers and serve them better. They cite the fact that small businesses are the largest employer and that local shopping creates local jobs.
Other points are that:
• Shopping in Ceres reduces emissions than when one leaves town to shop;
• Local businesses tend to donate to non-profit groups than businesses owned elsewhere;
• A share of sale tax dollars in Ceres return to city coffers as revenue;
• The Ceres economy would be strengthened if shoppers chose Ceres first.
The campaign prompted Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra at the Feb. 10 meeting to ask if the city could do its part.
"Maybe we need to lead by example," said Vierra.
He proposed looking into a city policy of offering discounts on the rental of facilities, such as the Ceres Community Center, for people who use a Ceres business for catering or other services.
"They're using our facilities and think it's worthy of a discussion if we can say, you know, we have our assets here and we're looking to stimulate businesses and jobs in our city," said Vierra.
Acting City Manager Art deWerk said he would get the item back to the council on March 10.