The Tulsa Metro Chamber announced today a buy-local campaign focused on returning out-of-area business purchases to the Tulsa region.
“An estimated $10.6 billion leaves the local economy each year, which is more than $29 million each day,” said Lynda Wingo, executive director of Miss Helen’s Private School and the Chamber’s vice chairman of the Board for Small Business. “We have more than 35,000 businesses in the Tulsa seven-county MSA, all unique in products and services.”
The buy-local campaign called “Let’s Do Business” asks local companies to pledge to examine its purchasing practices and identify, where possible, five percent of its out-of-area business purchases and seek ways to return them to the Tulsa region.
The campaign is a joint effort between the Chamber’s Small Business Council and its economic development program called Tulsa’s Future.
“The creation of jobs is not only through the pursuit of new businesses moving to the region,” said Dan Ellinor, sr. executive vice president for Bank of Oklahoma and the Chamber’s vice chairman of the Board for Economic Development. “Jobs are created by the companies that are already here. Our existing businesses are the primary driver in today’s economy and will account for roughly 60 percent of all new-job creation through 2010.”
Let’s Do Business is a business-to-business initiative, not business-to-consumer. Local businesses are defined as any business with operations in the Tulsa area. Businesses located here, whether it’s a small, family-owned store or part of a national chain, all employees contribute to the local tax base.
“According to our research, if we can achieve a five percent shift in purchasing, that could mean as much as $1.4 million each day returned to our local economy,” said Ellinor. “As this money moves through the community it ‘multiplies’ and could result in 6,600 additional jobs in our region.”
The website at www.letsdobusinesstulsa.com offers complete business-to-business connectivity in four ways: a growing list of companies pledged to participate; the Chamber’s online membership directory; a Chamber staff contact which can search all businesses in the MSA for a product or service; or if a product or service is not available then a company can submit a request for proposal and the Chamber will market it to the business community.
The website also offers examples of how businesses can locate five percent among their purchasing decisions and will promote successful returns to the Tulsa region.
“This is not about spending more, nor is it local charity,” said Sheila Curley, Chamber’s spokesperson. “We’re also not asking companies to pay more here if you can find better quality and value elsewhere. It’s simply, where possible; consider bringing five percent back of out-of-area business spending back home.”
“Whether it’s a small business or one of our largest employers, each company’s five percent, or more or less, will make a difference in our local economy,” said Wingo. “The point is this—to give local companies a chance. Provide a foot in the door, or a glance at their website, but give them the opportunity to compete with out-of-area companies.”