“Local retailers are the life-blood of a community,” said Economic Development Manger Alex Greenwood. “Retailers are the number-one employer in the city. They play a social role in that they provide teen jobs, where they get their first lessons on things like commitment and being on time. And sales tax is the city’s number-one source of revenue, paying for police and parks and all the special elements that sets us apart from other communities.”
Beginning Sept. 1 and extending through the holiday shopping season, the city is partnering with local newspapers, magazines and websites to not only tout the benefits of keeping shopping dollars in the community, but to let people know what’s available – which is a lot.
“Brentwood has 1.7 million square feet of retail, the second most in the county behind Concord,” Greenwood said. Other than a large toy retailer, everything you need is just around the corner. “You never really need to leave the city limits, and for a city Brentwood’s size, that’s incredible.”
A new city website, www.shop-brentwood.com, provides links to sites and publications that inform residents of what’s available in the city and where. Search functions break down shopping by product and location. The listings include the small, charming shops that provide unique merchandise you can’t get elsewhere, as well as larger retailers with bigger inventories. The goal is to provide a useful benefit to people who wish to support their hometown merchants and their hometown itself.
“We didn’t want this to be just a civic cheerleading exercise,” Greenwood said. “We wanted this to have real value for local retailers and shoppers.”
Part of the campaign will be to collect and convey shoppers’ experiences. “We want people to tell us what diamonds or hidden gems they’ve discovered, or how they shop Brentwood,” Greenwood said. Shoppers can post messages on the website, or drop a note to the participating publications, including The Press, 110º Magazine and the Contra Costa Times.
In addition to getting what you want without traveling far, supporting local shops allows residents to have a say in the development of their community. Shoppers don’t usually get a chance to weigh in on what stores are opened in their area, but they have everything to say – through their patronage – about which will be around for the long haul.
“Local retailers need our support,” said Greenwood. “What kind of community do you want? You get to help build it with your shopping dollars.”
Visit the Shop Brentwood website for the latest information, and look for more information in a special Shop Brentwood column every other week in The Press.