Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce Violates Own “Buy Local” Advice — Again!

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Schwenke (Photo Credit: YouTube)

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce once again dealt a hard slap to local businesses by hiring an out-of-state web developer to create its new “Save Local Now” web page and mobil app.

As quickly as the chamber debuted its new “save local” program, the Daily Sentinel revealed it had hired an Ohio-based firm to create it.

Such web development expertise is available in Grand Junction. Thin Air Web at the corner of First Street and North Avenue is one local company that offers such services, but the chamber chose not to patronize this or any other local web development business for this need.

Local-Washing

The Grand Junction Chamber regularly rolls out programs nominally aimed at supporting local businesses, like it’s “Blue Band Buy Local” program, while actually taking much of its own business out of town. This practice is known as “local-washing,” or trying to look concerned about local businesses without actually supporting local business.

Local-washing is akin to “greenwashing,” in which the chamber claims to be environmentally conscious while backing environmentally devastating pursuits unpopular with many businesses, like fracking and oil shale mining. The chamber also “job-washes,” or claims to support efforts to create jobs locally, while working to undermine innovative new economic pursuits that are already generating significant economic activity and good-paying jobs in other parts of the state.

Why Does the Grand Junction Chamber Local-wash?

We can only guess why the Grand Junction chamber fails to do its business locally, when taking its own business out of town is so diametrically opposed to its programs imploring others to “buy local.”

Perhaps the people operating the local businesses it needs do not agree with the chamber politically, so the chamber doesn’t want to support them.

Another factor is that the G.J. chamber is operating under a mistaken definition of local business, which it believes to include large national corporations and big box stores with headquarters in other states. Incredibly, the G.J. Chamber’s “Buy Local” program actually encourages consumers to shop at big box stores like Wal-Mart and K-Mart, that funnel money out of the area. 

Not putting its own money where it’s mouth is is a quick and easy way to alienate local business operators, which the chamber has done for many years.

We can only hope that someday the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce will see the harm it is continuing to do to Grand Junction small business by taking its own business out of town, and that it will finally see the light and really support local business instead of just giving lip service to such support.

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