FAUQUIER COUNTY “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN
October 14, 2004
FAUQUIER COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
CREATE AND IMPLEMENT AN AGGRESSIVE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN
FAUQUIER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
FAUQUIER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
FAUQUIER COUNTY TOURISM DIVISION
FAUQUIER COUNTY PROCUREMENT DIVISION
FAUQUIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Department of Economic Development and the Department of Finance are working together to review the potential to develop a Fauquier County Board of Supervisors Initiative to encourage citizens, businesses and the County government to purchase goods and services locally. The Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce, as the business voice, is a critical component in any program to encourage the local purchase of goods and services.
Following a review of the Buy Local Opportunities and the Buy Local Campaign Options, it is the recommendation of staff for Board of Supervisor consideration of the “Modest Campaign Option” and to maintain the Procurement Program component as outlined by the Department of Finance, Procurement Division.
BUY LOCAL OPPORTUNITIES:
The Fauquier County Procurement Division continually updates the County procedure for local solicitation for bids on County government projects. With the understanding that giving “local preference” is not permitted in the Commonwealth of Virginia, many pro-active steps have been taken to make local firms aware of bid announcements, seeking local firms to provide non-bid services when appropriate, updating the use of the Procurement website to make accessibility for local firms more
visible, reviewing and providing tie bids to local firms when appropriate, and utilizing local automobile dealerships for used vehicle purchases, among other aggressive steps. See the Procurement Summary attached.
The location of national firms in Fauquier County such a Staples, Inc., Holiday Inn Express, Inc., Petco, Inc., Quiznos, Home Depot, Inc., Star Bucks Coffee, and potentially Borders Books, etc. is a response to increased residential growth patterns and long-term retail marketing initiatives. New medical services, such as Fauquier Emergency Services and the Piedmont After Hours Medical Care, provide local medical services of significance to our County citizens.
Regional and local companies such as Millennium Bank, Cold Stone Creamery, Best Friends Animal Clinic, Echo Hills Nursery, Body Mechanics, Inc. and cottage businesses such as Dorsey Signs and Designs and Paradigm Solutions, Inc., as well as new restaurants such as The Whistle Stop, The Bistro (expansion of Napoleon’s Restaurant) and the recent change in ownership of The Depot Restaurant exemplify the expansion of local non-national retail firms.
Each of these national, regional and local company locations and/or expansions provides local goods and services to our residential and business components of Fauquier County
Agriculture in Fauquier County is rapidly transitioning from traditional large acreage farms into the smaller specialty and niche-farming sectors, such as: the rapidly exploding winery industry (8 existing, with 2 new ones being developed); specialty products, such as, Golden Owl Farm, herbs sold by catalogue and Rock Creek Shitake Mushroom Farm; locally produced cheeses and dairy products from Piney Meadow Farm, Vanderwoude Hill Farm, etc.; the orchard pick-your-own businesses (7 orchards), specialty meat production (Blue Ridge Farm, Wright Way Ranch, etc.; and local farmer’s markets (5). These smaller farms provide the opportunity for residents to buy agricultural products locally, both seasonally and year-round.
PROPOSED “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN
The scope of a campaign designed to encourage residents, businesses and government to shop and buy local goods and services can be developed to the extent that resources are available. No such effort should be developed without the review and participation of the Chamber of Commerce and other local business and residential organizations. The following three campaign levels offer options to be considered in addressing the Board of Supervisors Buy Local Initiative.
MULTIPLE LEVEL CAMPAIGN:
· The development of a “Buy Local” brand logo to promote and identify local businesses and the products they sell.
· The development of a strong print advertising and soft promotional campaign utilizing local and regional newspapers and radio as promotional vehicles.
· The creation of local promotional and informational materials for a local residential promotion program.
· The development of a program with local retail stores and agricultural businesses to develop a strong promotional program, which could include special incentives for local residents.
· The design of a “buy local” web site that local residents and businesses can go to in order to learn about local products and services that are available for purchase.
· The design and implementation of local workshops for local businesses on how to market their goods and services to local consumers.
· The design and implementation of a survey model to determine the types of businesses that our citizens and businesses would like to see locate here.
· The development of a retail marketing program that would promote Fauquier County to those businesses that are identified as being desired by County residents and businesses.
· The development and implementation of educational programs to encourage and educate local businesses on B2B, C2C, C2B, and B2G to identify products and services available locally to support larger existing local business enterprises.
Ø Time Frame for Implementation: Extended
Ø Budget Requirements: Beyond the Scope of the Current Department Budget.
Ø Staff Requirements: Heavy Time Investment (perhaps to the exclusion of current priorities)
Ø Concern: An Extensive Unified and Multiple Partner Buy-In Would Be Required.
· The design and implementation of an independent “Buy Local” Web Site.
· The development and execution of a local resident and business preference survey.
· A limited local advertising and marketing campaign to encourage purchasing of local goods and services by County citizens and businesses.
· Research to identify the types and availability of local goods and services.
· The development and printing of a Buy Local Product and Service Guide.
· The development and promotion of educational programs that support marketing and promotion for local businesses.
Ø Time Frame for Implementation: Extended
Ø Budget Requirements: Would Place Strain on Current Budget Resources
Ø Staff Requirements: Time Investment Would Reduce Staff Efforts in Existing Programs.
Ø Concern: The Required Utilization of Public Funds Could Be Limited to a Small Number of Retail Businesses That May Choose to Participate in the Initiative.
· Design and implement a “Buy Local” section on the existing Tourism Web Site.
· Design and place at least two full-page seasonal ads in local newspapers promoting “Buy Local”.
· Maintain coordination with Department of Finance, Procurement outreach efforts.
· Coordinate buy local program with the Chamber of Commerce activities.
· Program may be enhanced in future budget years.
Ø Time Frame for Implementation: Relatively Quick Development
Ø Budget Requirements: Costs May be Incorporated Into the Current Department Budget
Ø Staff Requirements: May be Factored Into Current Department Staff Responsibilities
Ø Concern: None of Immediate Impact
Board of Supervisors’ 2004 Priorities
Priority #8, Implement an Aggressive “Buy Local” Campaign
The Procurement Division of Finance Department Initiatives
Local preference is not authorized in the Commonwealth of Virginia (please see work session packet for Attorney General Opinion dated October 11, 1983). However, initiatives to encourage local participation are available through informal and formal solicitation opportunities for both Fauquier County, and the Fauquier County School Board. These initiatives include the following:
Ø ADVERTISING: All formal solicitations are advertised in not one but both local newspapers.
Ø WORKSHOPS: The Procurement Division of Finance partnered with the Department of Economic Development and the Small Business Development Center of Lord Fairfax Community College, with input from the Chamber of Commerce, to present “Doing Business with Fauquier County: The Procurement Process” on October 23, 2003. Future workshops will be undertaken.
Ø BIDDER’S LIST: Bidder’s List applications are readily available on the Procurement website and walk-in inquiries are always welcome at the Alice Jane Childs Building, 320 Hospital Drive, Suite 23.
Ø TIE BIDS: In the event of a tie bid and in accordance with Section 2.2-4328 of the Code of Virginia, Fauquier County is able to give preference to goods, services and construction produced in Fauquier County or provided by persons, firms or corporations having principal places of business in the County.
Ø PURCHASE OF USED VEHICLES: The Procurement Division encourages the use of local automobile dealerships for used vehicle purchases.
Ø RIDER CLAUSE: Local businesses awarded contracts with Fauquier County have the option to extend that contract to other jurisdictions, to expand their business opportunities.
Ø REVISED LEVELS OF COMPETITION: In 2004, the Procurement Division restructured request for proposals for open-end Architectural and Engineering Services into small- scale fee projects of under $30,000, and large-scale fee projects for over $30,000. This change was an effort to provide smaller, local firms the opportunity to participate in County and School projects.
Ø RAISING THRESHOLDS: The Procurement Division is drafting a revised Procurement Policy to raise the threshold for competition in Fauquier County, thereby allowing using departments more flexibility to buy local. The policy will be submitted to County Administration and both Boards for review.
TO: BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
FROM: FAUQUIER COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
RE: FAUQUIER COUNTY “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN
The Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce commends the Board of Supervisors for planning to create and implement a “Buy Local” incentive for its citizens. The Chamber has an existing program that has been in place since 1994 called “THINK FAUQUIER FIRST.” This program was originally designed to increase awareness among Fauquier County businesses and citizens as to the importance of holding shopping dollars within county lines. Enclosed is an original bumper sticker created for this campaign.
As we are all aware, when the numbers improve toward what is spent locally, more businesses are enabled to grow and flourish, increasing tax revenues to the localities, and more employment opportunities to the citizens. As more jobs are created, the numbers of commuters potentially decreases, lightening the traffic burden on the highways. Our Town and County ultimately booms, creating a healthier, wealthier business community, and everyone enjoys a “cash-flow positive” situation. There are no local losers through this “Buy Local” incentive – merely an equal distribution of assets in our own backyard.
The Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce already encourages members to do business with each other. Chamber events (Grand Openings, Ribbon Cuttings, After Five Socials, Member Luncheons) are all designed to promote awareness of the goods and services available in our community. These programs are highly effective, as Chamber members are loyal to doing business with each other. To extend that awareness to the 58,000+ Fauquier County citizens would be of immeasurable value.
It may be helpful to illustrate the importance of buying locally in the following manner: When people leave the County to go elsewhere to shop, they are, in effect, importing the goods they buy. That money is lost to our own community's economy. Oftentimes, importing is the only option, especially when essential services are not available locally. This includes, for example, some medical services, recreational activities, and specialty items.
In general, exports bring in additional income needed for supporting the tax base. If a service is performed by a local business for a firm in Fairfax, then they are exporting their services. The more exports, the more income and resources that will be available for our local economy. Economic industry analysts refer to the "economic multiplier" as a measure of how much economic activity can be generated within a community through different types of investments. A $1 purchase in a local store generates a minimum of $2.06 of economic activity in our local economy. That number is estimated to be as high as $4 to $7 depending upon the goods and services purchased. It is a chain reaction: the business then hires local workers who, in turn, will shop at other local businesses, keeping the dollar local. A dollar spent outside our community is lost to our local economy forever. It is encouraging that the Board of Supervisors desires to send this message to our County.
It is the hope of the Chamber of Commerce that our local governments will take the lead toward keeping our hard-earned tax dollars multiplying in our own county, as the “Buy Local” proposal has mentioned. This is important to Fauquier because our governments are the largest local spenders of money. That money either can “multiply” here or be lost forever. When people shop locally and support local businesses, the extra pennies spent are a step up toward a higher quality of life.
We respectfully request that the Board of Supervisors consider adding an additional facet to the proposed program. The addition of certain economic development incentives into our planning would enable Fauquier County to become more attractive to businesses looking to re-locate into our County. Technology Zones, Enterprise Zones, and Fast-Track permitting are just a few ways to bring the bees to the flower, so to speak. A more business-friendly approach would certainly make it easier to increase economic development in our County, ultimately offering more shopping choices to our local consumers, and raising tax revenues for services to our residents.
Strengthening our local community of commerce is a win/win situation for everyone.
Thank you for your consideration of the above comments.