Next time you hop on Amazon to buy something online, consider keeping your money in the Quad-Cities.

That’s the thrust of a new campaign from the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, which has launched “Keep It QC,” to bring awareness to

A downloadable poster for the chamber “Keep It QC” campaign.

the power of doing business locally. According to Chamber representatives, buying local has many tangible economic benefits for the region, in addition to helping area businesses rebound faster from the financial impact of Covid-19.

“Keep It QC is about educating members of our community about why buying local should be the first choice every time,” Erin Platt, the chamber’s director of marketing, said. “Ultimately the goal is to increase business for all Quad-Cities businesses.”

“Businesses and individuals are encouraged to make a conscientious choice to buy as many goods and services in the Quad-Cities as they can,” chamber president and CEO Paul Rumler said. “Whether you’re buying clothes from a local boutique or commissioning a nearby architectural firm to expand your company’s headquarters, it all makes a positive impact on our

Pryce Boeye, owner of Hungry Hobo restaurants, with a sign.

local economy.”

“What I love to do is keep people shopping local; it’s 100 percent what drives our economy,” Katie Wilson, founder and CEO of TapOnIt Deals, said Thursday. “We’re huge fans of this ‘Keep It QC’ program.”

Through her five-and-a-half-year-old business, 71,000 people have signed up to be sent offers and promotions via text, representing businesses across 18 states, including 200 in the Quad-Cities. The offers can be shared through text or social media.

“This holiday season, more than ever, with the way the year has been going — our local businesses are struggling,” Wilson said. “There are

A sample yard sign for “Keep It QC.”

many businesses that won’t make it through this. We have to shift our mindset a little bit away from the ease of online shopping to shopping local. It makes all the difference.”

Many Q-C businesses don’t operate online, she said, and loyal customers take the extra step of picking up their orders.

“The biggest thing is not spending all our holiday budget shopping online,” Wilson said. “Shop at our local Target, local Walmart, that employs local people, and  recirculates dollars back to our local community.”

The economic benefits of Keep It QC include:

Increases GRP: When businesses and consumers buy goods and services from companies in the Q-C, it increases the area’s gross regional product (GRP), an indicator of a region’s economic health.

Better schools, roads and more: Local purchases also simultaneously support local roads, schools, parks, police and fire departments and other quality-of-place projects because public infrastructure is funded, in part, by sales taxes and other taxes paid by the local businesses

Employees at IMEG in Rock Island celebrate keeping it QC.

to the city, county and state where they’re located. Those local taxes are what help fund upgrades to improve the community.

Supports and creates jobs:  When a business is healthy, it can keep its doors open and sustain its workforce. Better yet, it can grow and hire more workers who also have individual spending power as consumers.

Increases regional attractiveness: Strong businesses also make for a more vibrant, robust and powerful Q-C, which increases our

Marcia Erickson of ActionCOACH Business Coaching, outside her home.

attractiveness to companies looking to expand or relocate.

According to Platt, prioritizing spending locally doesn’t require more spending, just a change in where consumers and businesses are doing it, including when shopping online.

Instead of ordering directly from a corporate website for delivery, consumers are encouraged to choose in-store pickup from the online retailer in the Quad-Cities. The local store, which pays taxes, employs local workers and helps fund local city, county and state coffers, can often fulfill the product order from their store inventory.

“Every dollar we keep in the Quad-Cities increases our collective success, and by working together, we all win,” Rumler said.

The initiative includes social media, posters, flyers and yard signs with a mouth logo (similar to the iconic Rolling Stones logo) and the tag line. “Put your money where your community is,” with the word “mouth” crossed out. Many signs were put up across the region Thursday.

The chamber is asking homeowners and business owners to place a Keep It QC yard sign at your business or home to raise awareness of the

A sign at Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, Davenport.

power of buying from businesses located in the Q-C region and its economic impact.

The chamber also is encouraging eligible Davenport businesses affected by Covid-19 to apply for grants of up to $20,000 through the City of Davenport’s Small Business Resiliency Project.

Employees at Edwards Creative in Milan celebrate keeping it QC.

The city will fund the project with about $900,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds awarded through the federal CARES Act. Grants may be used for rent or mortgage payments, utility costs, employee salaries or wages and operational expenses, such as inventory.

Eligible businesses must:

  • have fewer than the equivalent of 50 full-time employees;
  • have been located in Davenport prior to March 16, 2019, and remain open for business as of the application date;
  • be in good standing with all local taxes, licenses and permits;
  • have not received reimbursement or funding from any other local, state or federal relief programs for the same items they are applying for under the Resiliency Project; and
  • meet the federal CDBG national objective – at least 51% of the workforce must be part of a low-to-moderate income household

“Our downtown small businesses are still in need of direct financial assistance to survive this pandemic,” said Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP), a division of the chamber. “We’re pleased to see the city’s robust program, and DDP is eager to assist in the application process.”

For more information, visit https://quadcitieschamber.com/news/blog/covid-19/davenport-covid-19-grant.

For more information on ways to support Keep It QC, visit KeepItQC.com.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.