By Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone
Want to make a difference in your community? Shop local! Keep the money within our own community. It’s a proven fact that independent and locally-owned businesses recirculate more revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses. In other words, going local creates more local wealth and jobs. The spending done by a business locally to operate, including inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees directly impacts the economy within its community. In addition, the indirect impact happens as dollars the local business spent at other area businesses re-circulate and the additional consumer spending that happens as employees, business owners and others spend their income in the local economy.
Not convinced? How about helping the environment? In addition to the economic impact, there is also a positive impact on the environment that occurs when shopping locally. When you choose to buy from local or independent makers, you are cutting down on processing, packaging and transportation waste.
Our 4th annual Made in Monmouth event was recently held to help support local business as well. Made in Monmouth was created by the Grow Monmouth Team within the County’s Division of Economic Development in 2012, to help small Monmouth County businesses expand their customer base and find new partnerships. In addition to the annual event held at Monmouth University, Made in Monmouth expanded last year and was a part of the Monmouth County Fair in July and held two “Mini Made in Monmouth” events in Manalapan and Cream Ridge last December.
Made in Monmouth events provide opportunity for the small businesses in Monmouth County and for customers. The quality and variety of products made right here in the County never cease to amaze and these events offer a one-stop-shop for everyone to see, sample and purchase these great products. I believe Made in Monmouth is one of the best County-sponsored events, it’s a great opportunity for our residents and visitors to see many of the unique products created right here in Monmouth County and it’s a great opportunity for our local businesses to connect with customers.
The County’s 2015 Made In Monmouth event was held on Saturday, April 11, at Monmouth University and was our best one yet. This year we had 170 vendors displaying their products, a significant increase over last year, with over 40 new vendors. The event attracted approximately 3,000 shoppers which surpassed last year’s attendance of 2,000. Among the items sold at the event were are custom furniture, handmade jewelry at every price point, flowers and plants, baked goods, chocolate, specialty honey, award-winning sauces, treats for both you and your dog, great books and soy candles, as well as original art and photography, pottery, bath and body scrubs and lotions, stationery and items for sea lovers, decorative items for home and garden, handbags and accessories. From 2 Chicks With Chocolate to Yankeegirl Art, you are sure to find a Monmouth County business with something perfect for your use or gift giving. To see a full listing of our 2015 Made In Monmouth vendors please go to the County’s web site at visitmonmouth.com. Next year will be are 5th annual Made In Monmouth event and we anticipate having even more vendors and a larger crowd of shoppers. For more information about how Grow Monmouth can help your business, go to the Grow Monmouth page at www.visitmonmouth.com.