Trumbull Campaign Encourages Residents to ‘Shop Your County’

NILES, Ohio – A coalition of Trumbull County community leaders is urging shoppers to keep their purchasing power in their county as much as possible, an effort they are sharing with their neighbors to the south.

A month ahead of the holiday shopping season that’s critical for retailers, the Eastwood Mall, the retail center of the county, provided the backdrop for the “Shop Your County” promotional campaign’s launch event and the unveiling of its logo.

Cinemanix Productions in Youngstown, which donated its services, designed the logo, said Esther Bruschau, director of corporate marketing at Cafaro and chairman of the campaign’s public relations committee. One version of the logo specifically encourages shoppers to patronize Trumbull County, but a less specific “Shop Your County” version also is being shared with businesses and media outlets in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

“The coalition felt strongly that the message should resonate throughout the tri-county region, and it is for this reason the primary logo is not county-specific,” Bruschau said. “When the region prospers, we all prosper.”

The Trumbull County Board of Commissioners spearheaded the effort. Several months ago, the commissioners faced the prospect of having to raise the county sales tax from its 6.75% rate. Instead, they chose “to hold the line and be as fiscally responsible as possible,” said Commissioner Dan Polivka, president of the board of commissioners.

During the sales tax hearings, the county auditor pointed out that revenues generated by the county sales tax weren’t increasing in Trumbull as much as in other counties, Polivka continued.

The benefits of shopping locally are twofold, Polivka said. It puts more dollars into local businesses andthe sales tax collected supports county services such as the sheriff’s department, 911, the court system and military veterans, he explained.

Of the 6.75% sales tax charged on purchases in the county, the county only receives 1%, Polivka says. Last year, the sales tax generated $24.3 million for Trumbull county.

That represents about half the county’s budget, said Commissioner Frank Fuda. “As commissioners and as a county, we don’t have a product to sell to make money,” he remarked. If sales tax revenues don’t grow at about 4% annually, the county has to tap into its rainy day fund to operate at its current levels, he explained.

Fuda pointed out that Trumbull’s total sales tax is half a cent below that of neighboring Mahoning County.

“When people buy things locally, they help pay for the services that we provide in Trumbull County,” he said

Committee members were “kind of shocked” to find out all the services the county sales tax supports, Bruschau noted.

“The vast majority of what you need to survive can be found in our county,” she remarked. “Shop us first. Shop downtown Warren. Shop the Eastwood Mall. Shop the county as a whole.”

Signage with the Shop Your County message will go up throughout the mall, in downtown Warren on billboards, television commercials and radio ads will carry the message as well, she said. The campaign has “a wonderful group of contributors” that has donated ad space, airtime and other ways to help get the message out, she said.

Backers of the “Shop Your County” campaign include the Eastwood Mall Complex, WFMJ-TV, the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, the city of Warren, Trumbull Career and Technical Center, the Greater Warren Opportunity Network, the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber and Cinemanix.

“It’s a great initiative,” said Kim Calvert, vice president, marketing and special events, for the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber. ‘It’s innovative.”

Pictured: Representatives of “Shop Your Committee” sponsors gather for Thursday’s press event.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.