Opinion

Challenge for Federal Way folks: Buy local

Recently, the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce completed its annual membership survey.

The Chamber represents business mostly here in Federal Way, and this survey really gives us an overview of what the entire South Sound business community is feeling.

Analysis of this year’s results makes it clear that the top priority for businesses is growing the local economy. The concerns certainly reflect national economic trends, and we do not have to go far to see the fiscal impact; both Washington Mutual and Weyerhaeuser are cutting jobs and restructuring their companies. These changes ripple out to every sector of our city and regional economies, from businesses that service these large entities, to the nonprofits that receive funding from corporate foundations.

As we combine the survey’s feedback and financial forecasts at local and national levels, our mission at the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce becomes clearer. First and foremost, we must continue to dedicate ourselves to building a strong local economy.

To keep citizens current on our efforts, I will be reporting regularly on programs such as these:

• Safe City Federal Way: Set to launch this fall, Safe City is a community-based initiative that unites businesses, residents, city officials and law enforcement through a project intended to maximize safety and minimize theft and other crimes in the core of Federal Way. Federal Way will be the first in the Pacific Northwest to have a community-policing program of this caliber. Currently, there are only 17 cities in the nation that can claim the title “safe city.” A majority of those cities have populations over 500,000. The distinction of becoming a “safe city” will not only enhance community safety, but will also strengthen economic development in the City of Federal Way by helping the city to both retain and attract new businesses.

• City/state partnerships: As we explore new ways to attract and enhance business, we are actively pursuing productive partner relationships with local government and stakeholders. By uniting our efforts, we increase the impact of our efforts and expect to see both short- and long-term results. Examples of these partnered efforts include ways to market our larger vacant office space, creating tax incentives, looking at innovation zones and creating a new business incubator.

• Buy local: You have a choice as to where you are going to spend your dollars. I would challenge you to think about the impact you have individually prior to spending your dollars. As a Chamber, we will be considering ways we can promote patronage of local businesses by everyone in our community as well as visitors. I’m not afraid to wear a “Buy Local” or “Made in Federal Way” pin!

The Federal Way Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting community businesses, encouraging employment of local residents, contributing to charities that serve our city and region, and supporting our schools. Building a strong local economy means supporting our community. As your local business voice, we will continue to listen and work with you to grow Federal Way and enhance the South Sound region.

Tom Pierson is CEO of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. Contact: tomp@federalwaychamber.com or (253) 838-2605. Also visit www.voiceofsouthsound.com.

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