Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Monday, 13 May 2013 09:30
A "buy local" campaign created by Bowling Green State University students is getting a shot at continuing.
At Friday's Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Meeting, members voted to approve a $500 pledge request to fund one of two internship positions connected with the project.
A second position has already been funded by the Bowling Green Economic Development Foundation.
"Obviously I think we're all aware that there's a concern among local business owners, that we've started this buy local campaign, that it's going to lose momentum" without the students, said Chamber Board President Bruce Stevens.
The project, dubbed "Buy BG," emerged from a course taught in the BGSU's Masters in Public Administration program.
The students developed a slogan, logo, and even a Facebook page for the effort after discovering that only 55 percent of the students they surveyed said they visited local retailers once or twice a week.
More than 25 percent said they never did.
They also began a visual directory of local businesses.
"The momentum is there and we do need to keep it going," said Wendy Stram, head of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Chamber Director Earlene Kilpatrick noted that the professor who originated the course, Dr. Russell Mills, is working to secure sustaining funds for the internships.
"It is very important. The go local campaign is nationwide and we know that Bowling Green would benefit immensely."
"It's just a matter of keeping the manpower up with the technology," she said.
Stram also presented the monthly Business Climate Report to the chamber board, noting the importance of tourism to the city.
Referring to the number of attendees that turned out for the Soccer Challenge last weekend, Stram told the board that "there were loads of soccer players with their families going in and out of Art Walk."
The Soccer Challenge is among the largest events held in the city, behind the National Tractor Pull and the Black Swamp Arts Festival.
She said that tourism is booming in the city - in 2012 alone, hotel tax income was nearly $188,000, up significantly from the previous year.
Tourism, she said, sustains more than 437,000 full-time jobs in the state.
"We're researching new things, and new partnerships that we can do," she said of the CVB.
In other business, the board:
• Heard that more than $3,254 has been raised for the 2013 fireworks through a letter-writing campaign. A carryover of over $3,000 also exists from last year. The fundraising goal is $14,000. The fireworks are scheduled for July 3 at the BGSU intramural fields.
• Approved Brian Paskvan and Misty Dimick as ex-officio directors.