Power to Shape Our Community/Shop SK First

Business Matters- Coreen Haydock Johnson
Executive Director, Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce

We have the power to shape our community-Shop SK First


 As a consumer we have the power to shape our community and make a difference.  Every time we open our wallets to a business, we are saying, “I like what you do. Keep doing it!”  When we shop SK First, we are saying YES to a strong vibrant local economy. 

Shopping locally improves our community’s well-being, protects local character and prosperity. It also reduces environmental impact and encourages competition. Local business ownership means decisions are being made by those who are local and care about the community.  Local businesses understand the importance of excellent customer service. When you make an effort to shop local-you may be surprised by what is available. 

National surveys tell us 73 cents of every dollar spent at a locally owned independent business remains in the community, with 27 cents leaving.  Local businesses employ local people, use local services etc.  In turn those businesses re-circulate the dollar back into the community.  When a dollar is spent at a local branch of a national chain store 43 cents stays locally and 57 cents leaves the community.   43% remains local--still better than a direct return of zero--which is what happens when you send that dollar out of the area, whether through the internet, or as close as Gig Harbor or Seattle.


Imagine following a dollar around the community.  The dollar from your paycheck…you make a purchase at a local gift shop, the owner of the  gift shop buys lunch a local restaurant, that restaurant buys bread from a local bakery, who pays membership dues to the chamber, who pays salary to staff, who makes a purchase at a local store, who pays salary to staff, who makes a purchase at another store, who pays a local accountant, who orders printing from a local store, who makes a donation to a local not for profit, who banks at a local bank,  who remodels a branch with a  local contractor, who buys materials from a local supplier, who sends his daughter to a local dance theatre, who rents space from a local property owner, who buys a car from a local get the picture.

 South Kitsap has a total average annual household income of approximately $1,500,000,000.  Yes, one and a half billion.  This is opportunity knocking for South Kitsap businesses. If we can maximize the dollars spent locally, whether at independent or national chain stores, it would have a significant impact on businesses, and on the sales tax revenue of our local cities in Kitsap and our county. And those dollars translate to roads, services, parks etc.  The Port Orchard Chamber Shop SK First program is oriented to increasing awareness of: shopping locally; what is available to purchase (goods and services); who your fellow merchants and service providers are; how our local purchases positively affect our community.  The program will reward consumers who shop locally with a potential $100 gift certificate and reward businesses who participate with marketing and business name acknowledgement.


Any local business, merchant or service provider can participate in the Shop SK First program, whether they are a Port Orchard Chamber member or not.  The business must pay $50 for one year to be a part of the program, to help cover the cost of the rewards cards, promotion, advertising and the monthly incentive prize for consumers. The business will be listed as a part of the program and promoted to consumers. Free Shop SK First Rewards Cards will be distributed to consumers beginning on May 2nd.  Businesses can join the Shop SK First program now. An application can be found at . Or call the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce at 360-876-3505.


It is that simple. Businesses win, consumers win, everyone grows in their understanding of strengthening the local community and the chamber encourages a stronger local economy.