Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Embrace the Live Local Challenge in Falls Church

On Monday, Oct. 22, the Falls Church City Council proclaimed November Live Local Month during which it is joining with the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce to encourage residents to take the Live Local pledge and patronize local businesses in Falls Church.

This is a concept that was initiated and cultivated by City Council Member Ross Litkenhous. Thanks to his encouragement and guidance, the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce created its #LiveLocalFC Challenge to educate our community about the benefits of spending locally, support our valued local businesses, and increase the revenue generated from our commercial tax base.

The benefits of spending locally are considerable. As a community, we often talk about the need to increase income from the business sector in order to keep tax rates from continually rising. Doing so can be difficult as Falls Church has a relatively small percentage of property designated as commercial. The one way residents can help, however, is to spend locally.

Doing so directly adds to the local tax revenue through sales and other business taxes. It adds to the tax income indirectly as well, through a multiplier effect. The better our businesses perform, the more they have to spend on staff and with other businesses for both personal and professional goods and services.

There are other benefits as well.

It is better for the environment because residents save gas and cut down emissions because they walk, ride a bicycle, or drive a shorter distance. It is healthier and more satisfying for residents because it is faster, less stressful, and the customer service is usually better. It supports schools and nonprofits because local business owners donate more to local schools and charities than businesses out of the area. It generates jobs as most new jobs are provided by local businesses. It builds stronger relationships with neighbors, business owners, and local decision makers because of the shared common cause and higher likelihood of spending time with them while spending locally. This helps create a greater sense of community and strengthens and preserves the fabric of Falls Church’s unique business population. And, the more successful our existing businesses are, the more likely more businesses will want to have a presence here.

#LiveLocalFC is more than a shop or dine local campaign. It encourages people to visit local health care professionals, fitness facilities, attorneys, realtors, financial advisors, builders, tutors, accountants, salons, and creative venues as well as restaurants and retail. Falls Church is home to more than 1,600 businesses, many of which contribute funds and time to schools, boards and commissions, and local nonprofits. They deserve our support. Not sure if Falls Church has what you need? Visit www.FallsChurchChamber.org and check our industry and keyword searchable business directory. We suspect you will be surprised to find what you are looking for right there in Falls Church.

While our intent is to increase support of our local business community and increase tax revenue generated, this campaign has been designed to be fun! The Chamber is asking residents and businesses to pledge to keep 20 percent more of their spending in Falls Church. To participate, businesses and residents can visit the #Live Local FC Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages and join the challenge by typing “#LiveLocalFC” and tagging at least 3 friends. Participants are then encouraged to take selfies and other photos at local businesses, post them with the LiveLocalFC hashtag, and tag the businesses. For every post, participants will secure a chance to win weekly prizes such as the ability to create and name a signature cocktail at Dogwood Tavern, a specialty coffee at Café Kindred, or a personalized beer at Mad Fox Brewing Company. Additionally, those who post the most photos with the LiveLocalFC hashtag and a business tag will be invited to participate in a special photo opportunity that will appear in the Falls Church News-Press.

Falls Church is a wonderful sought-after community with all of the benefits of a small town combined with those of a metropolitan area. The award winning schools, top-notch government services, the small town atmosphere, and our distinctive business community, all add to the unique character of Falls Church. Spending locally is a wonderful way to support and celebrate all of the reasons Falls Church is so very special.

We invite all residents and businesses to embrace the #LiveLocalFC Challenge and join us as we kick-off the holiday spending season with some friendly competition that is sure to be entertaining, enlightening, and great fun. And you will be helping our environment, your mental health, our local economy, friends and neighbors, and our loyal and generous business owners and employees. For more information about this campaign, the Chamber, or local businesses, visit www.FallsChurchChamber.org.


Sally Cole is executive director of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce.