The numbers are in and the City of San Luis Obispo reports that shoppers spent a whopping $868,522 on local businesses as part of the 2021 Buy Local Bonus program. That’s 19% more than shoppers spent through the same program in 2020.

“Thank you to all community members who showed up to support San Luis Obispo businesses and boost our local economy by buying local during the holidays last year,” said Derek Johnson, SLO City Manager. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, but community support like this continues to help San Luis Obispo get through these tough times and fosters economic recovery for all.”

The City of San Luis Obispo in partnership with the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce relaunched Buy Local Bonus program in November 2021 to encourage the support of local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program ran from mid-November 2021 through Christmas Eve 2021 and resulted in $868,522 in direct local spending. To incentivize this local spending, the City used local revenue measure funds to purchase $110,900 in gift cards from 120 unique local businesses ranging from restaurants to retail to personal service providers. Community members who spent $100 at San Luis Obispo businesses and saved their receipts were then able to get a $25 gift card to a local business while supplies lasted. More than 4,400 qualified shoppers spent an average of $171 each by the time the program ended.

“The community of SLO has a love for small businesses that is uncommon in other cities and towns. Being able to participate in the Buy Local Program was a great way to connect with locals, attract new customers, and provide an incentive for our customers to support other local businesses,” said Matt Pearce, owner of Old SLO BBQ. “We are thankful to the City and SLO Chamber for their continual support of small businesses and are humbled to be part of such a great community.”

The positive effects of shopping local are exponential, reaching far beyond what is rung up at the cash register. For every $100 spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately $68 stay in the local community, according to a study conducted in 2008 by Civic Economics.

“Buying local doesn’t just help the business; it keeps people employed, supports local families, it’s better for the environment, encourages entrepreneurship, and it helps keep our community unique,” said Jim Dantona, President/CEO of the SLO Chamber. “We’re proud to partner with the City to support these efforts.”