City Hopes Residents 'Shop Tulsa' This Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 17th 2010, 4:52 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The city of Tulsa wants to make sure shoppers don't take their tax dollars out of town. That's why there's now a "Shop Tulsa" initiative.

The city's budget comes almost entirely from sales tax, so this program is designed to encourage shoppers to stay local this holiday season.

If the lines on Black Friday last year are any indication, most people don't need to be told to "Shop Tulsa."

But they will be reminded early and often this year. The city launched its "Shop Tulsa" campaign Wednesday.

"It lets that local businessman be successful, which is good for Tulsa. It also creates sales tax revenue which comes back to the city of Tulsa long-term," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen.

Smaller cities like Broken Arrow and Owasso have similar programs, and they say the push to shop local has paid off with increased revenue. That is what "Shop Tulsa" hopes to accomplish.

The city depends on sales tax revenue for nearly all of its funding, and after a dismal year forced all kinds of layoffs, it can use all the help it can get.

"Giving the citizens of Tulsa the confidence, hoping their increased tax dollars we are spending for our mutual benefit, will be spent well," said Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

The campaign hopes to raise awareness with, among other things, a promotional video and its own website: While the area's major malls are within city limits, organizers admit that competition for shoppers' dollars gets stiffer every year.

There are new developments in the suburbs, as well as people who avoid the crowds all together and shop on the web.

But "Shop Tulsa" believes this year has to be better than last.

"Hopefully this helps a little bit. Even a little," said "Shop Tulsa" Chairman Blake Ewing."People start buying in town just a little bit more; 2011 looks a whole lot better than 2010."

"Shop Tulsa" differs slightly from program like 'Buy Owasso' or 'Buy Broken Arrow.' Unlike those, this will not include coupons or prizes.