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OTR Chamber wants shoppers

Bill Rinehart

 On any weekend night, the bars and restaurants in Over-the-Rhine are busy.  But the president of the OTR Chamber of Commerce, Emilie Johnson, would like to see the crowds visiting during the day, especially during the upcoming holiday season.

Johnson says most people are familiar with the nightlife along Vine Street, “but what helps to balance and round that all out, is to have additional things."  Johnson says that's retail, and service businesses.  She says a mix of those and the entertainment businesses are what make a neighborhood strong. 

This evening, the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce will announce plans to draw shoppers to the neighborhood for the holidays.  Johnson says they're trying to draw people away not only from the big box stores and the malls, but they’re also competing with other neighborhood business districts, like Northside, and Pleasant Ridge.

“In any market, you’re always competing for limited dollars, and limited resources," Johson says. "But the more people who really start to grab hold of that ‘shop local’ message, and supporting the businesses in their own communities, it’s good for everyone.

“The more we can do to support our local businesses, and to think local when we think about spending our dollars… definitely buying local is a great thing,” she says.

Johnson says a research firm from Austin, Texas, Civic Economics reports of $10 spent locally, $6.80 is kept in the community, while national chains return only $4.30 for every ten dollars spent.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.