Chestertown, Md., March 18, 2010 - On Thursday, March 18th the DCA began a new life and direction. Led by the Executive Committee of the Downtown Chestertown Association, the DCA members voted to launch a campaign to encourage residents and visitors to Think Chestertown First. This new broad, highly visible education and marketing campaign will draw attention to the value our local businesses contribute, so strongly, to our daily lifestyle here in Chestertown.
According to Nancy McGuire, newly elected President of the DCA, “We need to alter the thinking of our local consumers to change their buying patterns to think of our local businesses first. We are not saying that local consumers should not shop at both local and chain stores, just that we want them to be aware of the difference.”
The Downtown Chestertown Association will be joining a legion of other towns, across America, who are taking control of their own well-being. The appeal of large chains is waning and giving way to one’s hometown community of businesses. Mrs. McGuire uses the term, “Community of Businesses” to emphasize that none of us, within a community, stand alone in what we bring to our collective daily lives. She further stated that, “In Chestertown, visitors become residents because of our “small town” diversity and appeal. We have something that many other places envy – a strong sense of place within a beautiful town. To maintain our cherished lifestyle, we all must go out of our way to think first about our local community of businesses.”
In DCA’s research through the Institute of Self –Reliance, it was discovered that the large corporate businesses are now attempting to appear to be a “local business”. For instance, “Hellmann’s mayonnaise is testing a new marketing campaign of, ‘Eat Real, Eat Local’. Frito-lay is to pitch potato chips as local food. Barnes and Noble’s new tagline is, ‘All book selling is local’. Winn-Dixie has a new slogan: ‘Local since 1956’. International Council of Shopping Centers is pouring millions of dollars into TV ads urging people to ‘shop local at their nearest mall’. Starbucks is ‘unbranding’ some of its outlets. The first reopened as “15th Avenue Coffee and Tea” in Seattle. The fine print reveals that it is a Starbucks café. A large, global bank has a slogan that says they are, ‘Your local bank, everywhere’.”
These large businesses are trying to mimic what we already are – local, independent businesses. And we have the added advantage of being in Chestertown! “Local” is defined as locally-owned and “independent” is defined as businesses that have local decision making power. For every $1.00 spent locally, fifty cents stays within the local community. For every $1.00 spent at a local chain, only fourteen cents stays in the local community.Mrs. McGuire said that we are all delighted with the strong, enthusiastic desire to assist and support The Downtown Chestertown Association. The DCA encourages all businesses and, most importantly, individual property owners to become members of the DCA. For more information, contact Michelle Timmons, Membership Chair, at Houston’s Dockside Emporium, 410 778 9079 or DCA President, Nancy McGuire, of Maryland Heritage Properties at 410-778-9319. One may also “stay-tuned” through our website that will be available very shortly. We will let everyone know when the construction is complete.