Shop Orange County First enters third year

Published 8:16 am Saturday, October 22, 2016

(Editor’s Note: This is the first part of a series on the Shop Orange County campaign of the area chambers of commerce)


By Dawn Burleigh


A joint effort of the area Chamber of Commerces is entering it’s third of a five year campaign to encourage residents to think Orange County first when shopping.

“If you don’t buy local, businesses dry up. Employees are laid off and move away,” Chairman of the Chamber Economic Development Tad McKee said. “The students are not in the school anymore and it depopulates the county. It is a synergy effect.”

Bridge City, Greater Orange Area and Vidor Chamber of Commerce joined together to in speaking publically at council meetings, civic groups and schools to educate residents on the economic impact of shopping locally.

“There are two ways the county receives money, sales tax and property tax,” Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce President Ida Schossow said. “We are working on educating the public about keeping our tax dollars here.”

McKee said the campaign is about educating people.

“”When businesses look at a location, they look to see if local resident are supporting the area businesses,” Schossow said. “Conn’s closed it’s Orange location. They started here in Orange. We asked why and were told more people with Orange County zipcodes were shopping at the Port Arthur and Beaumont locations.”

It was one example provided for proof of use it or lose it syndrome.

“If entities cannot get the funds by sales tax, then property taxes have to go up,” McKee said. “Which can drive off businesses and industry because it shows people do not shop locally.”

It becomes a matter of committing to shop locally more.

“Even an increase of 10-percent,” McKee said. “Give feedback to local mom and pops shops about their hours or what they don’t carry that you would like to see.”

McKee added he would like to see a book store in Orange.

“Without the internet, several businesses would be here,” McKee said. “It has a multiplier effect.

“It takes the county to make this a success,” Schossow said. “People are starting to realize the affect. Shopping locally means more tax dollars into the county and businesses are able to give more to non-profits and churches.”

When the campaign started, $143 million in new cars were registered in Orange County in 2013. The four Orange County car dealerships sold $37 million, which was a net loss of $106 million to Orange County.

According to a power point presentation the chambers use during Shop Orange County presentations, shopping locally also encourages area businesses to expand their inventories and increase job opportunities.