Four months ago Redmond didn’t have a downtown art and music store.

But Terry and Kepi Hurt saw a need and as entrepreneurs they sought to fill it.

The Hurts are banking on Redmond residents wanting to support local business by shopping local and not going to big box stores or online.

“We see the community growing, and we wanted to be a part of that community,” Terry Hurt said. “We see it as a good fit for the community.”

Located on Fifth Street in Redmond, a few blocks from the Wild Ride Brewing, the Hurts and other small-business owners in Central Oregon will participate in the Shop Small Business Saturday.

Created in 2010 by American Express for the Saturday after Black Friday sales day, the concept is to remind residents that shopping locally can help sustain communities and generate sales for local merchants.

“It’s the basis for building a strong community,” said Eric Sande, Redmond Chamber of Commerce executive director. “There’s a lot of great experiences here.

“Any time you’re shopping local, you’re spending your dollars locally and that money stays here. You are helping build the wealth in your community by shopping locally.”

For every dollar spent in the local community, 67 cents is returned to the local economy, according the Shop Small campaign.

In a national survey of more than 3,000 business owners, communities with long-term buy local programs reported average revenue growth of 7.4% in 2015, the most current year data is available, compared to 4.2% for businesses without a shop local initiative, according to the Advocates for Independent Business, a coalition of locally owned organizations representing independent businesses.

Suzy Reininger, owner of Leapin Lizards Toy Co. on the corner of NW Wall Street and Oregon Avenue, has participated in the Saturday campaign for 11 years.

“We value shopping locally,” Reininger said. “It is a little community here. You’ll find that in Bend when you shop here you get extra attention. It feels like family.”

As a full-time merchant, Reininger said the store’s main mission is customer service. The store doesn’t try to match online or big box prices, but makes up for any price variation by providing personal product knowledge and attention.

Reininger’s approach as a business owner is common in Bend. Many work daily in their stores.

”I thank shoppers for coming in,” she said. “They tell me that they’d rather buy toys here than online. We’re fortunate to have the quality of shoppers here in Bend.

”It will be our best day on Saturday. Don’t forget to ask about the verbal coupon.”

Shopping local helps build a community, said Amy Watson, Oregon State University-Cascades marketing professor. While shoppers find value online, shopping locally also is more environmentally sustaining than one-day shipping.

 "Stores provide something beyond consumerism,” Watson said. “Stores provide a space for people to gather who have similar interests.

“We have a lot of people who work from home, or remotely, telecommuting. Meeting in local shops provides something more than consumerism, it provides connection that the big box or online shopping can’t provide.”

Creating commerce in a community goes back centuries, Sande said. Merchants want to be part of the community, so they give back by putting on parades and putting up holiday displays.

“You want to bring people downtown,” Sande said. “Businesses helping businesses. Neighbors helping neighbors. That all builds a sense of community and community pride.”

Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

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