With longtime businesses closing up seemingly every week and new businesses struggling to establish themselves, it is more important than ever to buy local, one car dealership says.
To help promote the Rim County chamber’s “Be loyal, Buy local” campaign, Chapman Auto Center, at Highways 87 and 260, is literally putting their money where their mouth is and offering a $450 rebate on all car purchases through January.
Glenn McGee, used car manager with Chapman, said when they saw their longstanding neighbor Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Co. close up several weeks ago, they knew they had to do something to keep residents buying locally in the Rim Country.
“We wondered what could we do to make people buy here,” McGee said.
Drawing on the success of the Cash for Clunkers program, which offered government discounts for trading in older, less efficient models for new cars and trucks, Chapman Auto decided to partner up with the Rim Country Chamber of Commerce and offer its own discount on all new and used car purchases starting in mid-December through January.
McGee explained they are not trying to sell more cars just to help their bottom line, they hope the buy local campaign will spread to other businesses.
“We would like to see people support local businesses,” he said. “We need to keep our tax dollars up here.”
If a Rim Country resident decides to buy a car in the Valley, for example, they take their sales tax with them, hurting the town of Payson, he said. Sales tax revenue goes toward funding town operations, including police and fire.
“If they buy in Scottsdale, they are taking the revenue with them, I don’t know how many people think of that,” said Buck Rogers, general manager of Chapman.
Rogers said he is disheartened when he drives down the road and sees empty storefronts everywhere.
“It gets pretty ugly,” he said.
If residents do not buy local, the picture could become bleak.
“We need to keep this community alive, it is not just this town but all of small-town America,” he said. “It is extremely tough times, but we are very much behind the town of Payson.”
So far, the rebate program seems to be working. The month of December was the most profitable for the dealership, second only to August, when the Clash For Clunkers rebate was offered.
Chamber manager John Stanton said he has written 14 checks so far during the program, one for Payson Town Council member Su Connell.
Connell said she has bought her last three cars from Chapman because it not only helps the local economy, but also offers her better service.
“As a single woman, I want a car that can be taken into a dealer who cares and knows me and my car,” she said.
“I do not have the time to run to the Valley where perhaps I would be just another number, and the money spent on gas to and from would be much more than visits to a local dealer.”
Connell said she plans to buy local products whenever she can.
“Buying locally has almost always provided the best total quality and total value. This has been true with big purchases like a car or a house, and smaller purchases like food, flowers and clothes,” she said.
“As a council member, I know how much local purchases help our economy, provide jobs and are an overall benefit to the entire Town of Payson.”