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3 Steps to Increasing Local Purchasing Preference in Memphis

Business Growth, Greater Memphis Chamber

“Small and locally-owned businesses create the majority of the jobs in the economy and we’ve got to do more as a business community to encourage spending with our own companies already right here in Memphis.”

This was a call to action from Chamber co-chair David Waddell, President & CEO of Waddell & Associates at the Chamber’s inaugural State of the Economy event in February.

The economic impact of local spending is particularly easy to quantify with retail establishments. In fact, a study by the Institute for Self-Reliance found that every $100 spent at locally-owned business generated $45 of secondary local spending. For comparison, of that same $100 yielded only $14 recirculating into the local economy when it was spent with a non-local company.

A recent survey of our members revealed that helping increase business transactions and referral leads between Chamber members was the number one thing our membership wanted to see the Chamber emphasize in 2019.

As the Chamber and our partners continue to look for ways to cultivate a thriving business community in Memphis, we believe that encouraging– spending between locally-owned businesses is one of the most important building blocks for a strong, diverse local economy.

Here are three steps you can take this week to help cultivate more business from local vendors.

3 Steps to Increasing Local Purchasing Preference

1. Check the Chamber Member Directory Online.

Making personal connections is one of the best ways to grow your business and the Chamber is here to help. As part of your Chamber membership, you are part of one of the most important databases in the region – our Member Directory. Visit the Chamber Member Directory online to search for businesses who may benefit from your services.

Make sure your business contact information is up-to-date so your company is easy to find. It only takes a minute to review and update your information when you login to the member portal.

Each record includes a key contact. This can be a great source for business leads.

Businesses are listed according to services provided.

2. Apply a ‘Memphis First’ Mindset to your Procurement Process

Set aside ten minutes this week to look at your accounts payable list and identify opportunities to replace a national vendor with a local or regional company.


If your company is large enough to have procurement staff, ask about the criteria they use to choose suppliers. Often staff assumes that going with the lowest priced vendor is the priority. In some cases, a local vendor may miss out with a bid that’s just a few hundred dollars more than a national supplier. Train your staff to consider local preference when evaluating close bids.

And don’t forget that Chamber members have access to our Affinity Program which offers member companies exclusive discounts from Yuletide Office Solutions, ProTech Systems Group and Methodist Healthcare.

When local companies spend money with each other, they spawn stronger local supply chains and create an economic multiplier effect. Every dollar that circulates locally boosts our local economic activity, employment and ultimately generates more tax revenue.

3. Ask for Help.

The Chamber is here to help your business thrive. Contact me for assistance in connecting to prospective business partners and business leads createa custom plan for increasing your company’s visibility to other local businesses.

Want to learn more about the benefits of increasing your business spend with locally-owned business? Click here.

Do you have any tips for reaching more local customers? I’d love to hear from you.

Patricia McKinney is the Chamber’s Member Engagement Specialist, dedicated to helping Chamber members grow their businesses and take advantage of all the benefits of Chamber membership.


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Greater Memphis Chamber | 22 North Front Street Suite 200 | Memphis, TN 38103-2100 | 901-543-3500
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