The Chamber of Greater Franklin County in Hampton, Iowa, has come with a novel approach to drive home the idea of how much of a difference shopping local can make to a rural community.
I have Allen Meister to thank for sharing it with me. He read about it in a newspaper and dropped off a copy of the article this week (there’s nothing on the copy that tells me what newspaper it was, however).
The Chamber of Greater Franklin County posed this question: What if everyone in Greater Franklin County decided to buy their toilet paper locally?
Then they did the math, and arrived at this: There are 15,000 people in greater Franklin County. The average person uses 105 rolls of toilet paper a year. At an average cost of $1.25 per roll, that one item would keep almost $2 million dollars in sales in their county. It would also generate $140,000 in state and local sales taxes.
But not all of the toilet paper last year was purchased in Franklin County. It was estimated that the amount actually spent on toilet paper in greater Franklin County was $335,800, which meant the county lost $1.6 million in potential revenue.
If that same formula was applied to Cuming County, it would mean the total sales for toilet paper, if all of it was bought in the county, would be right at $1.3 million. That would generate about $19,700 in local sales tax revenue (each municipality in the county assesses a local sales tax), and $72,200 in state sales taxes.
All from toilet paper.
The goal of the Greater Franklin County effort wasn’t to convince people to buy everything in their local communities. While we all should try to buy as much local as possible, the point they were trying to make is to show how buying something as simple as toilet paper can make a difference in their communities.
Now, compound that and think about what buying two, three and four items in town can do. Before you know it, you just may decide that there’s a lot more benefit to doing more of your shopping in your local community.
Mr. Whipple would be pleased.