Spend $20 on the 20th.
It's not much to ask. But the impact on the economy in Vermillion, by spending $20 locally, will be substantial.
Just by making a $20 purchase. Buy something you need, but have been putting off. Join a class. Take your significant other out to dinner.
You can get ideas of how to spend $20 locally by viewing the advertisements in this week's Broadcaster and Vermillion Plain Talk who are doing their part to help strengthen the city economically.
Open your wallet on Feb. 20. You don't need to go overboard. The sum of $20 certainly isn't huge, but collectively it will make a difference in Vermillion. It will give a boost to local retailers, and that boost will only lead to more local purchases, and that will make our economy stronger.
"I think this event might be a nice way for people to discover what's in Vermillion," said Rick Haught of Dakota PC Warehouse, located on Cherry Street. "I think there are people who just instinctively go to Sioux Falls or Sioux City, and don't even know that there are a lot of things available in Vermillion that are very competitively priced.
"If you factor in travel and gas and all of that, Vermillion starts to look like a pretty good bargain," he said.
So just how much impact can citizens make if they spend $20 on Feb. 20 in Vermillion?
Well, if every one of the 11,400 residents of Clay County age 18 and over, according to 2000 U.S. Census figures, spent $20 in the city that day, it would pump $228,000 into the local economy.
Those dollars multiply as they spread to pay salaries, buy supplies, pay bills and advertise to attract new business. It gives more people money so they can buy homes and cars and clothes which give more people more jobs.
The "multiplier effect" – in other words, the economic impact of a locally spent dollar – varies from community to community. Randy Stuefen, professor emeritus of the economics department at USD, said a dollar spent locally in Vermillion likely will have nearly a 1.5 positive effect.
In other words, every $20 bill spent on Feb. 20 will produce nearly $30.
"When you stop to think what a multiplier is, it's how many times money is spent before it leaves town," he said. "There are different multipliers, so when you get your hair cut, you pay the person to cut your hair, and that's all labor, so then they have the money, and if they're from Vermillion, they may spend some of that money at the local dentist and so on."
Bob Starr, operations manager of Jones' Food Center in Vermillion – a participating $20 on the 20th business – notes that every dollar spent locally helps strengthen the entire community.
"I don't think a lot of people really realize what shopping locally means to a community," he said. "We're talking from parks to the police department, to the fire department, which is volunteer but must have a building and equipment –when you take those dollars outside of Vermillion, outside of Clay County," he said, "people don't realize the negative impact that it truly has on a community.
"I firmly believe that shopping locally is the only reason that you're going to see communities grow," Starr said. "There is just way too much 'bleeding' to Sioux Falls and Sioux City."
He understands how, at times, people from the community must shop outside of Vermillion to find items that aren't available here.
"But there are a lot of hard-working people in Vermillion who have put their blood, sweat and tears into their storefronts, into their buildings, into their inventories, and by not supporting them, it's impossible to have a community to grow," Starr said. "That's one of the things that we've always built our businesses – Jones' Food Center and Jones' Ace Hardware – on. If you are not supporting local businesses in Vermillion and Clay County, you are doing yourself and your town a very large injustice."
The only way you are going to grow is by supporting those people who do a great job day in and day out," Starr said. "We have a lot of those people in Vermillion."