Study shows why it's important to keep money in the Mitten

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Michiganders sent $18.5 billion out of state in 2017 money that could have made a difference in creating jobs and boosting communities' vibrancy.

Where did the money go? To purchases that consumers made from an online seller, home shopping TV channel, or by phone from a catalog, according to a newly released commissioned by Michigan Retailers Association (MRA).

"When we encourage people to shop locally, it's not just to benefit our members across the state," said James P. Hallan, president and CEO of MRA. "Keeping our shopping dollars in Michigan has a huge impact on our quality of life. We all want to live in communities where everyone feels secure in the knowledge that they can find or maintain a job and that the stores down the street will survive and thrive."

The study, conducted by Lansing-based Public Sector Consultants, looked at the current state of retail in Michigan and the impact if all Michiganders switched just one in 10 purchases from an out-of-state retailer to a store in Michigan. With that modest change in consumer behavior, Michigan would gain a $1.2 billion boost to the economy and almost 10,600 new jobs. Wages would increase by more than $350 million.

"Why would we not want that money to stay in Michigan? Our Buy Nearby campaign encourages people to be intentional about their purchasing habits," Hallan said. "Think before you click can you easily find that same item at a store down the street? Isn't it worth the customer service and expertise you receive with an instore purchase? What would you do if that store closed because more dollars were being funneled to online competitors?"

With 116,000 stores, Michigan's retail industry employs about 877,000 workers and pays $21.6 billion in wages each year. That's the direct impact. Indirectly, retailers purchase goods and services, such as cleaning services, security staff, accountants and more. And their employees spend money as well.

"Nearly one of five Michigan jobs are in retail, making it a crucial part of Michigan's economy," Hallan said. "Keep your money in the Mitten."

If Michiganders switched just one in 10 purchases from an out-of-state seller to a Michigan store, it would fuel the state's economy with an extra $1.2 billion. The Buy Nearby campaign promotes Michigan retail businesses and educates consumers on why it's important to keep our shopping dollars in Michigan.

Residents can join retailers across the state for Buy Nearby Weekend Oct. 5-7.

Published: Fri, Aug 10, 2018

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