Go! Local Gets Smart

Gorge-wide buy local campaign partners with Chinook Book to make it easier for residents and visitors to locate and support local businesses.
 
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In anticipation of the holiday shopping and giving season, Gorge Owned is partnering with local businesses and Portland-based Chinook Book (www.chinookbook.com) to increase the economic impact of its GO! Local program.
 
Chinook Book, a 16-year-old program of Celilo Group Media, utilizes a smartphone app to educate and motivate consumers to patronize locally-owned and eco-minded businesses. With more than 40,000 users in the Portland market and 105,000 nationwide, the program recently expanded into the Willamette Valley. Given its close proximity to Portland and its strong independent business community, the Columbia River Gorge was a great next step, says Carrie Treadwell, Chinook Book Vice President and Oregon Market Director. “Chinook Book creates a community where good people and businesses come together to create a better economy. The Gorge community fits naturally into this philosophy,” says Treadwell.
 
“We are thrilled to be partnering with a well-known leader in the ‘buy local’ business community,” says Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Gorge Owned Executive Director. “The primary goal of this partnership is to make it as easy as possible for people to find and spend money with locally owned businesses. A secondary goal is to drive loyal customers from the Portland Metro to the Gorge during the off-season, when local businesses could use an extra boost.”
 
Starting Nov 11, 2016, the first 5,000 customers patronizing GO! Local participating businesses will have the opportunity to receive a free download (valued at $15) of the Chinook Book full-access mobile app, which gives them access to nearly 1 million coupons in 10 markets (Portland, Willamette Valley, Seattle, San Francisco and more). The coupons will be valid for one full year.
 
A recent independent survey of more than 170 people found that Gorge residents are more likely to shop with locally owned businesses as they are big-box stores. The respondents cited preserving the character of our towns, convenience and supporting their neighbors as the top reasons for shopping locally. Not surprisingly, online retailers ranked highest on the list of places where people shop. That’s where initiatives like GO! Local play a valuable role, says Miko Ruhlen, owner of Hood River Hobbies.
 
“These days, it is so easy to point, click and buy products online without thinking about it,” says Ruhlen. “We think this and other Gorge Owned initiatives help people understand the value of keeping their dollars local and understand the benefits of shopping at locally-owned businesses that give back to the community and preserve the character and vibrancy of our town.”
 
Katie Swanson, manager of the Portland Footwise store, says that partnering with the Chinook Book over the last decade has been “wildly successful” at bringing new, loyal customers in the door. Footwise has four store locations throughout Oregon, including Hood River.
 
GO! Local is the Gorge’s only region-wide “buy local” initiative. It’s a core program of Gorge Owned, a membership-based organization helping people in the Gorge invest in a strong local economy, healthy environment and vibrant community. GO! Local aims to boost local spending by raising awareness about the benefits to the community when people shop locally and donate to local charities.
 
And it’s working. Since launching the program in 2009, more than 200 businesses and thousands of customers have participated in various campaigns, documenting more than $100,000 in local spending. “We are looking forward to better tracking the impact of the campaign through this new partnership with the Chinook Book,” Thistlethwaite says. “That’s one of the biggest benefits to participating businesses.”
 
Businesses interested in placing a special offer in the Chinook Book can sign up at GorgeOwned.org/LOCAL or attend an open house at Marley’s Corner Pub on Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Representatives from Gorge Owned, Chinook Book and the business community will be on hand to answer questions and sign up businesses. Marley’s Corner will provide light refreshments.
 
GO Local is made possible with the support of presenting sponsor Centerpointe Community Bank, platinum sponsors Harvest Market and Wet Planet Rafting and Kayaking and gold sponsor Columbia Gorge Title. Gorge Owned will officially launch the GO! Local-Chinook Book app Nov. 11, 2016 at its annual GOvember party at Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen.
 
LEARN MORE
What: GO! Local Open House
Where: Marley’s Corner, 1216 C St, Hood River, OR 97031
When: Wed., Sept. 14, 2016, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
More info: GorgeOwned.org/LOCAL

About Gorge Owned
Gorge Owned is a 501.c.3 member-supported organization with a mission to help people invest in a strong local economy, a healthy environment and a vibrant community in the Columbia River Gorge. With more than 200 individual and business members, GO! delivers year-round programing that aims to create a strong sense of place and ownership in the Gorge community. Programs include the Sense of Place lecture series, Gorge Green Drinks, GO! Local, GO! Solar, and the Tod J. LeFevre Sustainability Awards. Learn more, donate or become a member, at GorgeOwned.org.

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