As director of sales for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to “buy local.” It’s a simple idea with a lot of very important consequences for our towns, our county, our state and the nation.

We’ve all seen the “Buy Local” decal in store windows, the sign at the farmer’s market, and the bright, cheerful logos for Local First North Carolina, Think North Carolina First. And many of us do just that, buy local because it feels good to support our local businesses. But there’s a lot more to it than that. Keeping your money close to home has a profound economic impact on our community, on the stores where you shop, the hotels where you stay, the tax-base you contribute to.

So I have a favor to ask.  Don’t just buy local: have your wedding here in Orange County, your reunion too.  If you sit on a state board, bring that meeting to one of our incredible local hotels and conference facilities.

It sounds daunting, I know. But here’s the thing: I can do all the work for you.  I can secure your bids, coordinate activities and take the guesswork out of the entire process.

Why? Because at the most basic level, when you buy local more money stays in the community; when you keep your meeting and event in Orange County, that commitment and the purchases surrounding that decision fuels jobs, and makes this county stronger.  Keeping your event here helps assure the future success of Main Street, Weaver Street, Churton Street and more. Remember: it’s not about how much money you’ve got, it’s where you put it that counts.

I can help.  And you can help keep our communities strong.


— Marlene Barbera

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