Timpanelli’s Buy Local Suggestions

A message from Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council:

There is one thing that all of us can do to help strengthen our regional economy that is really quite simple. If we each acted on it, I am convinced that our regional economy will get a fabulous jolt. It’s simple, but it’s critically impactful. It’s buying locally.

With the holiday buying season now upon us there is a simple thing that all of us can do that would have a substantial impact on our regional economy. When you make your spending and gifting decisions, remember local merchants and local service providers.

In these days of advancing globalization, the factories of the lower-wage economies have geared up to enable Americans to be offered a wide array of foreign cheaply produced goods, much of which has been produced at the expense of our own labor force.

We can help to change this alarming trend. We can exhibit a genuine act of support for our fellow Americans by making our holiday buying decisions in their favor. We don’t really need to make all of our buying decisions in favor of China, Korea, and Taiwan. We can make decisions to favor Stratford, Bridgeport, Fairfield and Trumbull.

Here are some easy examples. Everybody regularly gets their haircut. Well, why not buy your father or your brother or your niece five or ten gift certificates for haircuts. Do you understand the impact that has on the local economy?

How about a gym membership instead of a treadmill? They both have the same impact on improving the health of your loved one, but with the treadmill most of the economic impact is likely off shore, while with the gym membership all of the economic impact is local.

Everyone on your holiday gift list would appreciate car washes or even a fabulous car-detailing gift certificate. Again, the economic impact is entirely local. And, instead of an upgrade to your father’s flat screen television for a holiday gift, how about getting his driveway sealed, or providing lawn or snow plowing service for a year or six months. The local providers would be tremendously grateful and they’d in turn spend their earnings locally.

In our region, there are an untold number of great eating establishments, all of which provide gift certificates and all of which are, to some degree, currently struggling. If each of us made at least one of our holiday spending decisions in favor of a local restaurant gift certificate, can you imagine the impact that would have on our regional economy? It’s staggering.

Here are a few more very easy alternative gift ideas that would help the regional economy:
• Buy the services of a local cleaning company for a day or a year to help out whoever cleans your home regularly;
• Hire a local company to do your long-overdue computer tune-up;
• Search for a local crafts person to purchase the wool scarf you think your wife might like;
• Seek out the local wine shop to get your husband a bottle of great Connecticut grown cabernet;
• Plan your holiday party at a locally owned eatery;
• Purchase tickets as gifts to support the local theater company;
• Make a donation to a locally based charity;
• Buy your son some tickets to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Bridgeport Bluefish, or college events at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard;
• Get a gift certificate for your mother and her friend to see 6 movies at the newly renovated Bijou theater in downtown Bridgeport;
• Purchase a subscription for your aunt to the season’s program of the Bridgeport Symphony;
• Provide a donation to the Perry House, the Kennedy Center, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, or any of the deserving non-profits in our region.

Believe it or not, all of these things will help improve our regional economy. And, if we all did it, can you imagine the impact?

It surely would help to create a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year for all!

Paul S. Timpanelli
President and CEO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council



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