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Fowler promotes region with 'Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely' campaign

  • Debbie McVey, with D & M Honey Farm of Carrier Mills, sells some honey to a customer at the 2019 expo.

    Debbie McVey, with D & M Honey Farm of Carrier Mills, sells some honey to a customer at the 2019 expo.
    SILMG file photo

  • Morgan Stevenson of Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda spins alpaca hair into yarn at the 2018 Southern Illinois Made Expo.

    Morgan Stevenson of Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda spins alpaca hair into yarn at the 2018 Southern Illinois Made Expo.
    SILMG file photo

  • State Sen. Dale Fowler unveils the 'Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely, Southern Illinois Made' initiative in a Monday morning Zoom meeting. The campaign is designed to encourage people in the southern Illinois area to keep dollars local when shopping.

    State Sen. Dale Fowler unveils the 'Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely, Southern Illinois Made' initiative in a Monday morning Zoom meeting. The campaign is designed to encourage people in the southern Illinois area to keep dollars local when shopping.
    SCREENSHOT BY SOUTHERN ILLINOIS LOCAL MEDIA GROUP

 
By Travis DeNeal tdeneal@dailyregister.com
Posted on 11/17/2020, 1:27 PM

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- State Sen. Dale Fowler, R-Harrisburg, wants to remind the region's residents to keep business local this holiday season.

Fowler kicked off the "Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely, Southern Illinois Made" initiative Monday morning together with the Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce, Shop Southern Illinois and area businesses.

The promotion encourages shoppers to spend money at the local level whenever possible, especially with the holiday shopping season starting.

Fowler, chamber members and area business owners joined in an online Zoom meeting Monday to promote the initiative. It was a chance for Fowler to highlight area businesses unique to the southern Illinois region. He said the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 shutdowns and mitigation efforts have been difficult on all people in the region, but especially businessowners. Shopping locally can help stabilize and rebuild the region's economy, he said.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, our local businesses need our support more than ever," Fowler said. "This initiative will showcase the amazing businesses, breathtaking beauty, and world-class talent we have in our region. It will create better brand and product awareness so consumers better recognize the many products and services our workforce is offering and so consumers support their neighbor's creations, art, food, and entertainment."

Mike Beard, the executive director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, who was a guest speaker during Fowler's meeting, said in addition to keeping shopping dollars local, it's equally important to keep tax dollars local as well.

"If you shop online and you have that item shipped to your house, the majority of the sales tax goes to the Chicagoland area where it's spread out throughout the state," Beard said. "If you shop, for example, Walmart -- they're a member of our Chamber, so we support them -- and you have that item shipped to the store and go to the store and pick that up, the sales tax stays in the community where the store is. Oh, that's so important."

The "Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely, Southern Illinois Made" initiative includes weekly videos that highlight local businesses, products, and the people behind them, which will be posted on the Southern Illinois Made Expo website (www.simade.org). The videos will also run weekly on the Southern Illinois Made Facebook Expo page at www.facebook.com/SIMadeExpo/. The initiative also includes "Shop, Eat, Play -- Safely, Southern Illinois Made" signage that businesses will place in their windows or place of business.

The signs, which will be distributed to businesses through Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce, include one side that says "I support local businesses because ..." People can then write under that phrase why they are supporting local businesses. The initiative also includes a social media effort through the Southern Illinois Made Expo Facebook page where photos of the signs, photos of products from local businesses, and photos of the creators behind these products and services will be promoted.

For more information, go online to https://www.simade.org/.