Stores in Manitou Springs will make buying local easier this holiday season, with the launch of special tags for products made in Manitou.
The Manitou Made brand will be identified with tags, stickers and placards starting on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, in local shops. It highlights products that are locally crafted, designed, prepared, sourced or brewed in the greater Manitou Springs region.
The brand was launched by the Manitou Springs Creative District in collaboration with the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau.
“Buying local is a chance to support the growing Maker Movement and meet talented artisans and small business owners who take great pride in their work,” said Natalie Johnson, executive director of the Manitou Art Center and Manitou Springs Creative District. “This is a great way to experience handmade, one-of-a kind and meaningful gifts, while also supporting your community.”
Skye Candle Company is one of the Manitou Springs stores that will carry locally branded items. Owner Shanea Wilson-Campbell said buying local uplifts communities and encourages community connections.
“The city of Manitou Springs gives local artisans a home, a place to share their craft,” Wilson-Campbell said. “You have to admit, there is something special about knowing your baker, your candle maker, your skin care maker, your chocolate maker, your comfort food maker, your barista and your local brew master.”
The new brand is a nod to Manitou’s reputation as a haven for artists and artisans, said Leslie Lewis, Executive Director of the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau & Office of Economic Development.
“Creativity is an important part of the Manitou Springs history and economy, and Manitou Made is a great way to support the artisans in our community,” Lewis said.
According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big-box retail, Johnson said.
“Shopping locally also helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution,” she said.
Manitou Springs Councilor Jay Rohrer said the Manitou Made program “will help increase the visibility of our fantastic locally made goods. Supporting locally made products is good for the local economy because it keeps more money within your community.”
“Spending money at an independent business equals more money in local economic activity,” she said. “Those merchants are more likely to spend money in the same area they made the money. And, of course, it’s better for the environment, a topic close to my heart.”
Although started for the holiday shopping season, the Manitou Made brand will remain after the holidays as way to raise consumer, business and resident awareness of products that are sourced in the Manitou Springs region.
“Our ultimate goal is that businesses that stock Manitou Made products will experience increased sales to locals who feel proud to buy from their neighbors, and to out-of-town guests wanting to take home a piece from their Manitou Springs visit,” Johnson said.
The holiday shopping season is crucial for Manitou businesses, some of which languished during the summer. Many merchants say road construction projects, including the Westside Avenue Action Plan project and replacement of a leaking culvert that closed Manitou Avenue for six weeks kept shoppers away.
Holiday sales give them a chance to cover the traditionally leaner months after the first of the year.
Support for the Manitou Made project also was provided by the Leadership Pikes Peak Signature Class of 2019.