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Shopping locally estimated to return triple the amount spent to the community

Dan and Debbie's Creamy in Ely is one of the twelve businesses featured in the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance's Buy Here, Give Here, Grow Here initiative.

Local economics estimate hundreds of jobs and thousand of dollars can be brought into Linn County just by shoppers choosing where they spend their money.

The Cedar Rapids Economic Alliance says for every dollar spent at a locally owned small business, three times the amount is returned to the community and benefits in a number of ways. It's part of the reason Josie Ruzum and her parents started a shop of their own.

"They've always had a passion for dairy farming and we wanted to create a farm-to-table dairy operation," said Josie Ruzum, the director of operations for Dan and Debbie's Creamery.

Now the two-year-old creamery stands in Ely, offering more than just dairy products. Each shelf has products like honey, jam, granola, popcorn, and other products specifically brought in from different vendors across Eastern Iowa.

"The whole reason we started the creamery was a way to give back to our family farm and create a more sustainable way of living," said Rozum.

Rozum says she wants her store to provide the community with a better way of life. It's a goal she and other look small business owners agree is being accomplished with the help of customers.

"Each dollar that you spend average returns three times more to the community than spending elsewhere," said Jody Guither, the business relations specialist with the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

The economic alliance is now pushing it's new initiative -- "Buy Here, Give Here, Grow Here" -- to both highlight how local non-profits and businesses are impacted when people shop locally, as well as educate consumers with the long-run impact of buying something locally.

"That increases revenue for local business, which then in turn creates more jobs, which sometimes helps with business expansion," said Guither.

In addition to expansion, more business owners are more likely to set up shop locally if they see other small businesses doing well, too. The economic alliance says additional local businesses not only help boost the local economy, but create more options for people who are looking to do more than shop in the area.

"You have to have both of that service and people say 'hey we can go here to this community and get goods'," said Duane Johnson, the owner of There's No Quit Kickboxing.

Johnson's There's No Quit Kickboxing is one of the twelve local businesses featured in "Buy Here, Give Here, Grow Here" initiative. He agrees that the diversity of business options is partially what brought Duane Johnson to the area and what he and other business owners believe can bring so much more with help from consumers.

"It's lucrative to others that want to come to the area; that want to shop here because of what's going on and the excitement of what's going on," said Johnson.

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