Keeping it Local

Blue wristbands are helping keep money in the community/’Band of Locals’ campaign held to keep local businesses around

Many benefits can result from shopping local, including helping keep area businesses around, discounts and an appreciation for the community.

The Band of Locals, a campaign urging citizens and students to “buy local first”, revolves around blue wristbands that can be purchased for $10 at participating locally owned businesses and the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve sold over 1,300 bands in the community,” said Carlleen Rose, Band of Locals committee member and owner of the Old Pioneer Emporium in downtown Big Rapids. So far, 76 businesses are participating in the campaign. Rose said their goal is to have 200 businesses partake in the campaign.

Rose indicated the university is recognizing the importance of shopping local. “The students are important and letting them know what our town has to offer,” she said.

Owning a blue wristband means having the privilege of receiving discounts at local shops downtown and unlimited free items.

“There’s no end, once you’ve got a band,” said Rose. She also said it is a partnership between the participating businesses for advertising the community and getting the word out.

Shopping on the internet or at major retailers instead of local businesses hurts the community financially and economically as it is important to keep money circulating in the downtown shops and businesses.

“For every $100 spent, we keep $45-$65 in the community, which helps keep more jobs, prosperity, more of what people want to see,” said Rose. “See what’s in your own town before shop online,” she added, because internet shopping brings no money into the town.

Anja Wing of the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce said shopping local is more convenient because “you don’t have to drive anywhere.”

Wing mentioned if any student groups want to use the Band of Locals for their organization they can purchase the wristbands for $6 and sell them for $10 while keeping $4 for every band sold.

“I truly believe the students here can get a good sense of the community when they visit local businesses,” said Rose.

More information about the Band of Locals campaign can be found at their