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307 First asks Wyoming citizens to buy local, save Wyoming retailers and economy

March 19, 2012 in News

WORLAND, WY—Tamara Langley was heartbroken when she walked into Washakie Wear only to learn that her favorite store was going out of business. She won a gift card from 307 First to any Wyoming-owned business, and she chose Washakie Wear.

“I was excited when I found out I won the gift card,” she said. “But it is so sad they are closing their doors. We don’t have any local shops in town where we can purchase clothing and other things you would normally find in bigger cities.”

“Unfortunately, the Worland community is choosing to spend their money either online, out of state or out of town,” said Chuck Glade, a member of the board of directors for Washakie Wear. “It is easy to get to places like Billings, MT to shop at big retail stores. We just didn’t have the ability to provide the kind of selection those stores have.”

Demarcos, a Casper-based retail landmark recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after more than three decades in business. “People just aren’t shopping locally these days,” notes owner David Marcovitz. “It is so important to support local businesses, because keeping money in the community helps the economy. We all have to help each other out.”

These stories are all too familiar in the Wyoming retail landscape, which has seen significant losses due to an increase in shopping at big-box stores, online, and out-of-state.

“The loss of stores like Washakie Wear and Demarcos is precisely why we created 307 First,” said board member Charles Cloud. 307 First—a non-profit, grassroots organization—has initiated a public campaign to encourage Wyoming residents to buy local and hire local, in order to support Wyoming-owned businesses.

“The numbers don’t paint a rosy picture for the future of local retail,” Cloud said. “We have to do something to help our Wyoming-owned businesses survive.”

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that $165 billion of U.S. transactions occurred on the Internet in 2010, which was a 14.9% jump from 2009. Total retail sales for brick-and-mortar shops only increased by 7% during the same period. And most of those gains come from big-box retailers, like Walmart.

1 response to 307 First asks Wyoming citizens to buy local, save Wyoming retailers and economy

  1. Many questions arose in my mind after reading the Casper Tribune addition showing Mr. Rick Bonander with the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce Beautification committee proudly posing with the Fort Collins based landscaper. Perhaps the Casper Area Chamber of Commerce Beautification committee did not get the memo about buying 307first in respect to the beautification of Casper’s Chamber. Who can say.

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