You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ways you can invest in the local economy: Get advice at next Sustainable Ann Arbor forum

By Ryan J. Stanton

If you live in Ann Arbor, there's a good chance you've heard the message "Buy Local," and you probably know there's a ripple effect for every dollar spent at a locally owned business.

"A mere 10 percent shift in consumer spending, from chains and the Internet, to locally owned retail, would create hundreds of new jobs and more than $78 million in increased economic output for the Ann Arbor area," according to

"Consumers don't have to spend more, just spend differently."

The city of Ann Arbor and the Ann Arbor District Library are teaming up to host a four-part series of sustainability forums and economic vitality is one of the themes.


Customer loyalty to Ann Arbor-based Zingerman's Deli helped fuel this recent expansion of the locally owned eatery. Paul Saginaw, founding partner of Zingerman's, will speak at the next Sustainable Ann Arbor event.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Five community leaders will discuss opportunities for investing in the local economy at the next Sustainable Ann Arbor forum on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The event at the downtown library, 343 S. Fifth Ave., is the second in the series. The forum is free to attend and runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The discussion will focus on economic vitality, including opportunities to build a strong sense of place in the community.

Speakers will include:

  • Mary Jo Callan, director of the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development
  • Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Municipal League
  • Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK
  • Ingrid Ault, executive director of Think Local First
  • Paul Saginaw, founding partner of Zingerman's Deli

The program will include a series of short presentations, a question-and-answer session, and tips for individual actions. A follow-up session to discuss key issues and questions related to economic vitality will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Pittsfield Branch Library, 2359 Oak Valley Drive.

Future events in the Sustainable Ann Arbor series include:

  • March 21 — Diverse Housing, including how to meet current and future needs of the community with changing housing demographics, such as older residents, a high rental population, and affordability.
  • April 18 — Transportation Options, including the transition to more fuel-efficient modes of transit, such as electric vehicles and non-motorized planning efforts in the community.

For more details about the series and videos from last year's Sustainable Ann Arbor forums, visit the city website at

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

So if all of the national chains are driven out, who will employ all of the people that they employ?

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 10:41 p.m.

The story that this article links to cites a statistic that when purchases are made at local businesses, about 65 percent of revenue is reinvested into the community, compared to about 34 percent of revenue from national chains.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 4:32 p.m.

"sustainable" seems to be the latest buzzword. It all boils down to money in the end though. Who's got it, who doesn't, who wants more....."


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

Sustainable means that we can sustain producing/consuming it for the foreseeable future. Lets drop the disdain for responsible action.


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 1:23 p.m.

"Consumers don't have to spend more, just spend differently." Care to elaborate on that extremely suspect statement?

Thinking over here

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

I think he means that local usually costs a bit more, so either you spend the same and get less, OR to get the same, you really do have to spend more. That's my take on the statement as I, too, thought it was suspect...


Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

I know what it says - I just don't believe that it's true. I believe that buying local does cost more, and I bet most people would agree. That isn't the same as saying that it doesn't have other benefits. Just trying to keep it factual.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Feb 13, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

I think the first half of the quote explains it pretty well. They're just saying if you buy local, it'll help the local economy.