|A movie marquee from Stafford's Ritz Theatre in 2010.|
The Chamber of Commerce in Greater Franklin County (Iowa) is making an impact on their local economy one toilet paper roll at a time.
It doesn't sound very glamorous, does it? And it's getting mighty personal. But think about it: What product does every person use every day? Young or old, male or female, farm or town: Everybody uses toilet paper. In fact, the average person uses 105 rolls of toilet paper a year. It costs an average of $1.25 per roll.
So, in December 2011, the Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce promoted an idea: Buy toilet paper at a hometown store, not a big box store. And, believe it or not, the idea is starting to clean up (so to speak).
There are 15,000 people in Greater Franklin's service area. They did the math (which is good, since it's not my best skill):
From their Buy One Product Local website:The idea worked. After a year, Franklin County stores that sell toilet paper have seen an increase in sales.
That one item (toilet paper) would keep almost $2 million dollars in sales in the county. It would also generate $140,000 in sales taxes.
Last year, it was estimated that the amount actually spent on toilet paper in greater Franklin County was $335,800 – that’s lost revenue of $1,631,244!
Our county doesn't have that many people, so the math will be different. But what would happen if residents of rural Kansas "swiped" the idea and bought their toilet paper from hometown stores? What if we then added a tube of toothpaste or some laundry detergent to the shopping cart? How would our local economy be impacted if we spent money in our hometown for everything from apples to deodorant to soap to zucchini, instead of driving 30-plus miles to a big box store for supplies?
|Notice that Angel Soft toilet paper is even on sale this week at Paul's!|
Last October, the Stafford Mercantile opened. It's a variety store owned by local investors. It fills a niche in our small town that was left when our Duckwall's store was closed in 2010.
|Yes, I really did have toilet paper on the pickup hood. I got some weird looks.|
Reasons to Shop Local (from Buy One Product Local's website)
- When you purchase locally, those businesses you buy from purchase from other local businesses. Those same local businesses often support local charities.
- Small businesses are the largest employers nationally.
- Local businesses are looking to hire someone with specific product expertise – meaning better customer service. Plus, they live and work in the community and really know their customers.
- Generally, local business owners are more invested in the community. Their children attend the schools, their family goes to a local church.