Blue Band program marks 6 months

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce held a news conference Monday morning to mark the success of the first six months of its Blue Band/Buy Local program and remind shoppers of Blue Band Friday this week.

Blue Band Friday, as this Friday has been officially declared by the City Council, is a new moniker for Black Friday to remind shoppers to buy local on that all-important shopping day, said Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Schwenke. Blue wristbands will be available that day and throughout the holiday season at Mesa Mall, and the program also will raise local shopping awareness by handing out wristbands during the Parade of Lights on Dec. 4.

The program has handed out 12,500 blue wristbands bearing the logo “Buy Local, Support the Grand Valley.” The program also has grown from a handful of participating businesses to more than 100.

Martin Duarte, owner of Premier Signs, said offering Blue Band deals has helped him attract and keep business. He recently sold an $8,000 sign to a client who said he may have made bought from a business in another town, but decided to buy local when he found out Duarte would give him a $1,000 discount.

“It brings local businesses back to us,” Duarte said. “If they’re receiving an incentive to stay local, they will.”

Local businesses are continuing to try to get the word out. Sorter Construction President Bill Ogle had some 100 blue T-shirts printed earlier in the year to raise awareness. He passed out the shirts, which read “We Dig Local,” to his employees and their friends and families.

“A lot of the men that work for me didn’t know about the program,” Ogle said.

He printed the shirts to change that. StarTek also tried to raise awareness, and StarTek Recruiting Manager Jason Crowell said about half the company’s 500 local employees now wear blue wristbands.

For a list of companies participating in the Blue Band program, go to http://www.gjchamber.org/bluebandwagon.asp.


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