BRENTWOOD -- Although Brentwood is gradually making a name for itself as one of the most popular regional shopping destinations, Brentwood Economic Development Manager Alex Greenwood said that there are still a significant amount of struggling businesses as the recession lingers.
City leaders are hoping that a local marketing campaign will help those troubled businesses and prevent sales tax leakage to neighboring communities. The Shop Brentwood campaign will kick off on Sept. 1 through advertising, publicity, a new website and programs to encourage local residents to patronize Brentwood merchants.
"A lot of people want to shop in Brentwood, but maybe they don't know how," Greenwood said. "We are trying to intercept Brentwood residents and then help them realize the importance of shopping locally."
The retail community there is the largest source of tax revenue to the city's general fund and provides critical funding for city services like parks and police protection, Greenwood noted. He added that Brentwood stores are the city's main source of local jobs and shopping districts or retail centers are the social hubs of the community.
As part of the campaign, local consumers will be provided with reusable shopping bags featuring the Shop Brentwood logo and the logo will also be displayed on banners installed by the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce. The logo features images of a bottle of wine, a rose, produce and a wrapped present.
"We were going to start this campaign anyway, but there was an urgency placed upon it because of the economy," Greenwood said.
Shop Brentwood includes a major advertising campaign in all local media. Dafne Swisher of the Downtown Brentwood Coalition said that this type of exposure will really help small mom-and-pop businesses that can't afford advertising right now.
"That is the most expensive part of your business plan," said the owner of the downtown CoCo County Wine Store.
The campaign's website will go live this week at www.shop-brentwood.com. It is designed to help local shoppers locate various retailers.
As a downtown event coordinator, Peggie Schuitemaker said that it will unite the business community and keep local retail dollars in the community. She added that it will be similar to buy local campaigns in Pleasanton and Livermore.
"You can come home and get it here and get that hometown service," Schuitemaker said. "The economy is getting a little better and it is helping the businesses to get ready for the future."
Greenwood said that many cities that initiate shop local campaigns find it difficult to gauge their effectiveness, but local businesses have been an integral part of the planning process in Brentwood.
"We want to drive home the shopping experience you can find here," Greenwood said. "We wanted to make sure it drove sales tax dollars."