Rural Idaho Community Launches Campaign Against Economic Malaise

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Buy local campaign gets aggressive

A snapshot of the Twin Falls, Idaho campaign

The news is all about the economic downturn - we want people to focus on the inevitable up-turn

As the global economy swings wildly and federal bailouts seek their mark, some communities are propounding their own solution: Buy local.

One community in Idaho has turned this message into an aggressive campaign, with radio, newspaper and TV ads urging residents to not only buy local, but to keep investing in infrastructure and training, and to "keep swinging."

"The news is all about the economic downturn - we want people to focus on the inevitable up-turn," said Jan Rogers, who heads SIEDO , an economic development organization in the Twin Falls region of Idaho. "By keeping our eye on the end game, we will be better positioned for that up-turn."

Twin Falls, a city with a population of about 40,000, grew rapidly over the past decade as a variety of businesses expanded and moved in to take advantage of affordable land and a strong workforce. With agriculture and food processing industries serving as its stable economic backbone, the community has weathered the downturn much better than many areas of the country.

Rogers says that 'buy local' campaigns don't go far enough. That is why her organization - the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization - teamed up with the College of Southern Idaho to urge community leaders to invest now, both in site development and workforce training.

"Buy local" campaigns are springing up everywhere, with smaller communities more likely to succeed by supporting "mom and pop" stores and locally owned dealerships owned by people they know. Boise, Idaho - the state's capitol - also launched a "buy local" initiative, with newspaper ads running through the summer. Eagle , Idaho - a tiny suburb of Boise - started a smaller campaign that consists of banners and sandwich board signs encouraging residents to spend their dollars close to home.

Twin Falls' campaign is called "Preparing for the swing," and shows a child swinging high in the air. "To keep the swing moving, you had to lean back, pump your feet and hold on for dear life," the ad copy goes. "During an economic downturn, you have to lean back a little farther, pump a little harder and hold on a little tighter. It's the only way you can ride it back to the top."

The campaign will run on local TV, radio and newspaper as a positive reinforcement to help its communities understand that a local plan is in place to help stabilize the economy and offer alternative and additional training for future business expansion and recruitment.

"When this recession ends, we're going to see a significant increase in businesses coming here looking for a business-friendly environment and strong workforce," said Rogers. "It's not going to be a trickle…it's going to be a fire hydrant. And we'll be ready."

To see images, audio and the TV campaign, go to

The Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization (SIEDO) is a joint venture of public and private sectors formed to help diversify and strengthen the local economy by retaining and attracting business to the south central Idaho region. For more on SIEDO, go to

About College of Southern Idaho
The College of Southern Idaho (CSI), a comprehensive community college, provides quality educational, social, cultural, economic, and workforce development opportunities that meet the diverse needs of the communities it serves. CSI prepares students to lead enriched, productive, and responsible lives in a global society. For more on CSI, go to

Jan Rogers

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