Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Silver Spring Offers Local Business Guide - Washington Post

Downtown Silver Spring is shaped something like a kite and in order to get that kite fiscally flying higher, the community has put together a local guide to highlight small businesses in the region.

Emily Adelman, Local First program manager at the Latino Economic Development Corporation, has been working on a small business guide and campaign, which officially launches today.

It's a pilot program for similar initiatives in Montgomery County that received its funding from the county council.

"There are a lot of small, local and independent businesses in downtown Silver Spring, and we wanted to start somewhere that is experiencing a lot of change and development," said Adelman. "There are a lot of folks just moving into the region and with the influx of new residents and with a new [presidential] administration coming in, we wanted to introduce them" to the smaller firms.

The Silver Spring Buy Local Guide is a folding map and directory to more than 200 locally owned and independent businesses in the region. Adelman noted that research has shown that 68 percent of consumers' money stays in a community when it's spent on a locally owned, independent business.

"We're not asking people to spend frivolously, especially in these tough economic times," said Adelman. "We just want to say 'here are some local businesses and if you're making some purchases anyway, think about shifting those purchases locally.'"

She hopes the guide will not only attract shoppers, but will better unite the smallest firms. "I hope bringing together small businesses with similar goals will help them get their messages out" -- especially on issues like raising commercial property taxes, which the Maryland legislature will discuss in a hearing this Thursday.

The campaign and kickoff party for the guide will be held at Jackie's Restaurant on Georgia Ave. at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The guide will be available at Silver Spring stores and from LEDC.

Adelman, who works out of LEDC's Wheaton office, plans to work on a similar Local First Guide for Wheaton this spring.

By Sharon McLoone | December 9, 2008; 11:09 AM ET

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