Craig As the holiday shopping season approaches, businesses within Craig and Moffat County are not unlike the rest of the country anticipating a surge in demand for consumer goods.
Hopefully, the majority of residents will keep in mind the importance of buying locally, but in some areas, the message already has been received.
Statistics collected by Yampa Valley Data Partners in late 2012 as part of the Consumer Preference Study shows that Moffat County’s annual “purchasing power” of $227 million consists of 52 percent disposable income for preferential buying, which doesn’t include things like mortgages, utilities and other charges.
The study shows Moffat County residents spend the majority of their money within the county in most categories.
For instance, an estimated $21.5 million goes toward groceries, personal care products and housekeeping supplies. Of that, 93 percent is purchased within the county, 2 percent in Routt County and 5 percent in other areas.
Although Moffat residents show a proclivity to buy within the county in most sectors — doing 76 percent of their spending in the area — they often turn to other areas or online for items like clothing, electronics and automotive purchases.
That kind of pattern can be harmful to Craig and Moffat County businesses, said Audrey Danner, interim director of Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership.
“In addition to being our primary employers, local businesses provide dollars as a tax base for our community,” she said.
Danner said the spirit of shopping locally can be interpreted differently. Some Craig residents may prefer locally owned businesses only, while some frequent Kmart, Walmart and other chain stores, but either way, keeping transactions within the area contributes to the local economy.
“I believe there are many people who will shop in town for the products that they need if they have excellent customer service and they’re able to get it for a reasonable price,” Danner said.
Nadine Daszkiewicz, owner of The Kitchen Shop, said a large portion of her customers strive to shop at the local level as much as possible.
“There’s a lot of people who have decided that saving $1 or $2 online is not worth it,” she said. “They’d rather come in and touch it and feel it, take one of our classes, learn how to do stuff and keep the money local. And God bless that because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stay in business.”
Daszkiewicz added that the increasing mania of shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday is something she’d like to avoid altogether.
As the Thanksgiving holiday segues into Christmas preparation, many downtown shops will be participating in Small Business Saturday, which will feature a number of special deals.
Clint Gabbert, owner of The Jungle Pet Shop, said he will offer storewide discounts in addition to the attentiveness he tries to give everyone who walks through his door.
“The big box stores may be cheaper, but they don’t give you the same service,” he said.
Saturday’s activities also coincide with the Christmas Parade of Lights, which should make for a relaxed day out for families instead of a frenzied search for the best bargains, Daszkiewicz said.
“It’ll definitely be a fun time,” she said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.