A southeastern Iowa county with the lowest level of retail sales of any of the state’s 99 counties has launched a special initiative to get residents to “buy local.” The statewide, per-capita average for retail sales is nearly nearly 99-hundred dollars, but Louisa County’s average is 67-hundred dollars below that. Mallory Smith, executive director of the Louisa Development Group, says her group has joined with six local banks to launch a PR campaign.Smith says the campaign will hopefully remind Louisa County residents of the economic benefits of buying locally — the jobs that are created as well as the local option sales tax money that goes to improve local schools. The group’s goal is to get every one of Louisa County’s households to spend 20-dollars more each month in the county. That would translate into a million dollars worth of retail sales — and Smith says it’d yield 10-thousand dollars for local schools. Smith says Louisa County residents are lured to shops in nearby cities in other counties.Many residents in the northern part of Louisa County shop in Muscatine or Iowa City. Most folks in western Louisa County shop in Washington and residents of southern Louisa County tend to shop in Burlington.”We have retail centers all around us,” Smith says. But Smith and her crew are urging Louisa County residents to shop closer to home. Smith says the county has a little bit of everything, including five full-service grocery stores, appliance stores, clothing stores and one Dollar General discount store is open, another will open soon. The “Shop Louisa” campaign printed posters and brochures to place on restaurant tables and store counters that urge locals to spend their money in local businesses.
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