From the Desk of the Main Street Program Director

Locally spent dollars circulate within our region
by Rae Gosling, Grayling Main Street Program Director
Last week I suggested you come back to learn more about Grayling Main Street’s (GMSt) upcoming fundraisers and new partnership program, but I inadvertently misled you. I promise I will circle back around to that, soon.  
Last week I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the Small Town and Rural Development Conference hosted by CEDAM (Community Economic Development Association of Michigan) at Crystal Mountain. The event is geared toward small and rural communities, offering opportunities for networking and education. Many small communities experience similar struggles, ranging from limited development resources to housing deficiencies. Grayling is not immune for these barriers. The two-day event showcases a variety of resources, as well as other communities’ success stories and strategies. The networking sessions allow for fresh eyes to evaluate situations and offer advice.
This year the conference featured two keynote speakers, Bob Fish, the founder of Biggby Coffee, and Kimber Lanning, the Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona, and small business owner.  Both shared inspirational stories about growing small businesses and building development efforts for the betterment of the community.  
In addition to being a keynote speaker, Ms. Lanning also presented at the conference. I took several great ideas from each of her presentations, the most valuable is how I view local spending. She offered me a new way to look at, and promote local spending.
In Ms. Lanning’s presentations, she shared with us some statistics about how locally spent dollars circulate in the community, compared to dollars spent at chain retailers and restaurants using products from outside the region.  For this exercise, we will consider Michigan the region.  The difference is absolutely astounding. I felt like she was preaching to the choir listening to her numbers and the impact. Then she asked if we in the room, as economic development professionals, were communicating these findings to our residents, visitors, and potential customers.  I was not sure I was.
Locally spent dollars circulate within our region at a frequency of four times more than dollars spent in chain locations. For every $100 you spend in a locally owned business, or on locally produced items, approximately $45 stay in OUR community, or region. For every $100 you spend at a provider not using local resources, only about $10 stay in our region.
When shopping local an element that often times gets overlooked are the secondary and tertiary jobs that are supported by local business owners. Secondary jobs include roles like local accountants, graphic designers, and printers. Tertiary jobs include positions like janitorial staff, economic development personnel, construction providers, and local government. Yes, government, don’t forget that paying sales tax to local sellers and producers keeps money in our state, instead of sending it to another state’s tax coffers. There is plenty more to be said regarding taxes and their impact potential, but that will have to wait for another day.
Eventually the dollars are going to trickle out, but we can control how many of them leave our community, whether that is Grayling, Crawford County, northern Michigan, or all of Michigan.
In closing today, I want to encourage you to shift just 10 percent of your spending to locally owned stores or produced products. When you are in the big box store, look for the local produce grower or dairy, and buy that one. A slight shift in your spending could have an enormous impact in our community.
Want to know more about GMSt upcoming fundraisers and our new partnership program?  Check back in future editions of the Avalanche for more From the Main Street Director’s Desk.  You can also check out our website,, find us on Facebook, or email your questions to
Rae Gosling is the Program Director for Grayling Main Street. She has been with GMSt since April 2016. She is a Grayling resident, wife, mother, local shopper, avid supporter of all things Grayling, and keeps everyone on their toes wondering what color her hair will be next

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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