Supporting Michigan’s retailers and sharing your purchases through social media not only shows off your Mitten Pride, but it could earn you a $500 shopping spree from the Michigan Retailers Association.
The Lansing-based group is sponsoring “Get Caught Blue-Handed Day” on Saturday, Oct. 4. The goal, according to Jim Hallan, president and CEO of the nation’s largest state trade association, is to encourage Michigan residents to buy local and support the companies that have stores, distribution centers and other facilities here.
“’Get Caught Blue Handed’ is a play on the expression ‘get caught red handed,’” explained Hallan on a conference call Monday. “We are asking consumers to help their local communities and state-based retailers by putting their dollars to work nearby. … We want to increase awareness and support for our Michigan retailers who have invested in our state.”
To enter the $500 Buy Nearby shopping spree, shoppers need to post a photo on Buy Nearby’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram page with #BuyNearbyMI. The photo should include their purchase from a Michigan-based retailer in it. The MRA will randomly select one winner on Wednesday, October 8.
The Michigan Retailers Association is the unified voice of Michigan’s retail industry, representing nearly 5,000 member businesses and their more than 15,000 stores and websites. Retail is responsible for more than 850,000 jobs in Michigan.
The Buy Nearby campaign was created by the Michigan Retailers Association and launched in April 2013. The campaign is sponsored by DTE Energy. Supporting sponsors include: AT&T, Retailers Mutual Insurance Company and Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Some background: Buy Nearby is a year-round, feel-good campaign that is celebrated on the first Saturday of October as Get Caught-Blue Handed Day. On this day, everyone in the state is encouraged to make purchases at a nearby store.
Hallan said that if Michigan consumers chose to support businesses in the state by always buying nearby rather than from online or out-of-state retailers, Michigan in 2015 would gain more than 74,639 additional jobs and $9 billion in additional economic activity, including $2.5 billion in additional wages the new workers would earn.
His source is Anderson Economic Group, an East Lansing consulting firm that created a report on the impact of the “Shop Local” efforts called the “Economic Costs of Untaxed Remote Sales and Potential Benefits of ‘Buy Nearby,’” which was published in July 2014.
Hallan noted that it may be difficult to spend every dollar in the state or with retailers who have a Michigan presence. That said, even a small amount of effort would make a big difference.
So if shoppers converted just 10 percent of their buying to a Michigan retailer, the state would gain more than $900 million in increased economic activity and 7,463 new jobs, the Anderson Group found. Switching one in five purchases would mean more than $1.8 billion in increased economic activity and nearly 15,000 new jobs.
More than 866,000 Michigan jobs are directly dependent on retail sales, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP from its August 2011 report on the economic impact of U.S. Retail. That report also showed that an estimated 18 percent of Michigan’s total economic activity (GDP) comes from the retail sector and 17 percent of Michigan’s labor income comes from retail jobs.
Additional information is available at www.BuyNearbyMI.com, www.facebook.com/BuyNearbyMI, and www.twitter.com/BuyNearbyMI. Local businesses can enlist the Buy Nearby Guy mascot to visit and help promote their business, or communities can enlist the mascot to help promote a festival, community event or shopping area by going to: buynearbymi.com/buynearbyguymascotrequest.