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The City Journals

Millions more in Uncle Sam virus relief cash prompts city officials to sponsor another ‘Shop Local’ campaign

Oct 05, 2021 09:57AM ● By Carl Fauver

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

As we approach the end of this 25th anniversary year of Taylorsville City’s 1996 incorporation, the city council has voted unanimously to once again work with ChamberWest to provide all households with a kind of departing (the year) gift.

If Oprah were here, she’d say, “You get $30 and you get $30 and you get $30” to the more than 20,000 households that make up Taylorsville.

“The Shop Local program was so successful last year—and ChamberWest ran it so well—we thought it only made sense to do it again,” Mayor Kristie Overson said. “It was such a benefit to our citizens, and we got such an overwhelming positive response from residents. We’re excited to do it again.”

ChamberWest President and CEO Barbara Riddle said every Taylorsville household should have already received his or her Shop Local coupons in the mail.

“The mailers will go out by the end of this week,” Riddle reported to Taylorsville City Council members during their Sept. 15 meeting. “They were printed in four different languages. The program is identical to the one we did last year. Each mailer has two $15 coupons that can be spent at any of our participating businesses.”

At the time of her report two weeks ago, only 44 businesses had signed up, compared to the 67 participants ChamberWest had a year ago. But Riddle was expecting to see many more businesses sign on after our print deadline.

“All of last year’s participating businesses reported having a good experience and we are hoping to get 100 participants this time around,” she said. “We purposely picked this lull time of year—after back-to-school shopping, but before Christmas—to try to give our businesses the biggest boost.” 

Program details and the most current Shop Local participant list is at chamberwest.com/shoplocal/taylorsville/residents. Business categories involved in the program (as listed on the website) include Automotive/Car Care, Creative Services, Entertainment, Retail/Shopping, Restaurants/Eating Establishments and Self-Care.

“Last year’s Shop Local program was very meaningful to us, because it happened right after we opened,” said Nothing Bundt Cakes (5338 South Redwood Road) Owner Lincoln Fillmore. “We are very excited to be in Taylorsville and glad to see this program coming back. [Because of the pandemic] there haven’t been as many community events for us to become involved in. So, this is great.”

The local Nothing Bundt Cakes is celebrating its first anniversary with a Community Appreciation Week, Oct. 11 to 16. Details are available at nothingbundtcakes.com/bakery/UT/taylorsville. The store employs 20 people.

“Last year’s Shop Local program boosted our sales by 5% to 10%,” Fillmore said.

Just west of Nothing Bundt Cakes in that same retail complex (NW corner of Redwood Road and 5400 South) is another of the eating establishments excited about the return of the Shop Local program, Penny Ann’s Cafe (pennyannscafe.com). Store namesake Penny Ann Florence said, “We are always pretty busy and the coupons were great.”

Like last year, the two $15 Shop Local coupons do not require residents to spend any additional “matching” money. However, Riddle reports it was very rare for people to simply use their coupons last year, without spending a little more to boost the local economy and sales tax revenues.

“Some people spent barely more than the coupons, but others spent a hundred dollars or more,” she said. “We also do not ask merchants to discount anything. They receive the full $15 for every coupon spent in their business.”

Taylorsville City Council members approved a bit more for the Shop Local program this time around, $180,000 compared to $150,000 a year ago.

The funds are part of the $4.4 million the city received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden last March. City officials anticipate receiving another $4.4 million federal allotment next summer. Taylorsville Chief Financial Officer Scott Harrington says all $8.8 million must be spent by Dec. 31, 2023. Any unspent funds must be returned to Uncle Sam.

“This is different from the CARES Act funding we received,” Harrington said. “We have more time to spend it and restrictions on how we spend it are not as tight.”

The entire American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is costing federal taxpayers $1.9 trillion, making it one of the largest economic rescue plans in U.S. history.

“We have not yet identified any specific projects [for the rest of the $8.8 million],” Harrington said. “We are looking at water and sewer infrastructure, housing development and expansion of broadband (high-speed internet). There’s also been talk of upgrading parks, possibly constructing pickleball courts or improving the skatepark. This time around we have a lot more planning time to determine spending priorities.”

You can bet if round two of the Spend Local coupon program is as successful this fall as round one was last year, the Taylorsville City Council and ChamberWest will give serious consideration to a third round next year, with possibly more to follow.