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"Buy Local" Campaign Thrives in Chicago Neighborhoods

Residents spent nearly $95,000 at local shops in the North Side neighborhoods over the holidays

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    It appears shopping local may have been a trend for two of Chicago's North Side neighborhoods.

    The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce promoted it's annual holiday unwrap campaign, urging holiday shoppers to invest in local retailers, and the residents responded by spending nearly $95,000 at local shops.

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    On Saturday, "mom and pop" stores hoped to cash in on this year's holiday shopping bonanza. White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett was in Hyde Park to ring in the day-long event. NBC 5's Regina Waldroup reports.

    Nearly doubling the spending from the inaugural 2012 campaign, the chamber of commerce said it received receipt submissions from 188 participants who spent at least $300 at three different retail spaces within the Lincoln Square and Ravenswood boundaries.

    Shoppers that met the requirements of the campaign and the Dec. 24 deadline were rewarded with a $50 gift card to a local restaurant for 2014.

    “The Lincoln Square Ravenswood neighborhoods flourished during the holiday shopping season,” said Rudy Flores, executive director of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. “Even though the requirement for the campaign was spending $300.00 we saw receipt totals as high as $4,336.39 with an average spent by all participants at $406.35. By encouraging people to shop local, we’re keeping more investment in the local economy. Locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.”

    Flores said the campaign helped to "explode" sales in the Chicago neighborhoods.

    And residents echoed that enthusiasm.

    “I made a deliberate choice to spend my dollars locally because of this offer…and had fun doing it," said shopper Heidi Ames.

    The campaign was part of a larger "Eat, Drink & Buy Local 365" campaign in Chicago, which asks residents to spend $1 each day for a year at local stores.

    “Small businesses are the engine for our economic recovery,” said City Treasurer Stephanie Neely. "Chicagoans can save gas and create local jobs by shopping and spending where they live."