The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce kicks off the holiday season with its 13th annual Shop Oxford initiative, an effort focused on encouraging shoppers to shop local this holiday season.
“When you shop in Oxford, you keep tax dollars right here at home to be invested back into the many services and improvements that make our city such a great place to live,” says Janice Antonow, City of Oxford Alderman. “Sales tax is the largest single revenue source in the city’s budget.”
What many holiday shoppers don’t realize, or think about, is that when they travel to surrounding areas such as Tupelo and Memphis to pick up items on their shopping lists, they contribute their tax dollars to communities other than Oxford. The goal of the Shop Oxford campaign is to inform the public about the benefits of shopping in town and keeping tax dollars local.
“It is important for folks to stay in Oxford and shop because they know where their tax dollars are going,” says Amanda Hyneman, a manager and buyer for Neilson’s Department Store. “They are also supporting their neighbors and friends, folks their kids go to school with, they go to church with and who in turn will support their businesses.”
The Chamber publishes an annual “Gift Ideas for Under $50” to show the various ideas that are available in town at a reasonable price. The list can be found online at www.oxfordms.com or on the Shop Oxford Facebook page and @OxfordMSChamber on Twitter.
In addition to the list of holiday deals, Hyneman suggests additional reasons to shop in Oxford. Since no traveling is involved, shopping in Oxford saves both time and gas money, she says. Exchanges and returns are easier if the gifts are purchased in town. And because most students go home for the holidays, traffic is light and there are more parking spaces on the Square.
In this year’s Shop Oxford campaign, the Chamber of Commerce is stressing the importance to “shop local.”
“Oxford offers a variety of gifts for everyone,” said Pam Swain, Vice President of the Chamber. “Our city is known around North Mississippi as a shopping destination.” Hyneman says, “If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Oxford, you probably don’t need it.”
Swain adds, “We really just us this initiative and this time of the year to encourage everyone to keep in mind the major importance tax dollars have on our community and to please consider shopping Oxford first before going elsewhere and online for gifting.”
Additionally, a “Top 10 Reasons to Shop Oxford” list was compiled by local committee members, consisting of local shoppers, retailers, and business owners. The top 10 reasons to Shop Oxford this year are:
9. Relaxed shopping atmosphere.
8. Special order possibilities.
7. Eliminate shipping costs.
6. Saves time.
5. Safe environment.
4. Individualized attention.
3. Saves gas.
2. Your tax dollars are benefiting your community.
1. Even Santa knows…The Best Gifts Come from Oxford!
The Shop Oxford campaign began in 2001 when Antonow and her fellow board members recognized a problem with Oxford’s revenue, which decreased in 2000. The problem had to be addressed since one third of Oxford’s revenue comes from sales tax; therefore, the Chamber of Commerce launched the first Shop Oxford campaign. In order to continue the support of the local economy, the Chamber of Commerce encourages all members of the community to Shop Oxford this holiday season.
Shop Oxford also maintains a Facebook page (Shop Oxford) and a Twitter feed (OxfordMSChamber) which publishes daily specials at local Chamber members stores, as well as new inventory announcements, extended shopping hours, and much more.
The Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce is the most dynamic business organization in our community where businesses and professionals come together to work to improve the business climate and quality of life for our area. With over 620 members, the Chamber strives to undertake programs and projects which seek a positive business climate conducive to growth of the private enterprise system, raising per capita income and providing strong financial, physical and human resources, for the citizens of Oxford and Lafayette County. These goals are accomplished through a variety of avenues, including networking opportunities, seminars, events, marketing opportunities, referrals, leadership programs, or other resources available exclusively to Chamber members.