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Business & Economy

Local Retailers Encourage Utahns to Shift Spending

Andrea Smardon
The King's English Bookshop owner Betsy Burton talks with customer Brad Butcher. (Nov. 24, 2015)

Economists are predicting that US holiday spending will be 3.7 percent higher this year compared to last year. There are efforts underway in Utah to get consumers to shift some of that spending to local businesses.

Business is brisk at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City. Booksellers have their hands full doling out recommendations, ringing up sales, and gift wrapping presents. It’s surprising to see at a time when brick and mortar stores seem to be giving way to online shopping, but store owner and co-chair on the board of Local First Utah Betsy Burton says people still love shopping at their local bookstore.

“The last five years, the book industry has had a complete turnaround and independent businesses are in a renaissance,” Burton says. She says independent bookstores are up 5 to 10 percent in sales every year for the past several years. Customer Brad Butcher, a middle school librarian, is here to pick up some books he had special-ordered. He likes the unique selection, but there’s more to it than that. 

“It’s just a pleasure coming here,” Butcher says. “They give you book recommendations, and all sorts of stuff. It’s a local company owned by local people, it’s great.”

Betsy Burton and other local retailers are hoping more people buy into that outlook this season. They are encouraging support for Shift your Spending Week, where consumers commit to shift at least 10 percent of their holiday shopping toward local businesses.

“It’s a way of using your money to bolster your community, as well as your local economy,” Burton says.

If all Utahns shifted 10 percent of their spending to local businesses annually, that would inject 1.3 billion dollars in the local economy, according to a study commissioned by Local First Utah. Shift Your Spending Week starts on Friday and runs through Saturday December 5th.

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