Cheney, Kansas is merely a short 20 minute journey down a
four-lane highway from the largest city in Kansas. Think about it. Any item we
wish to purchase or anything we wish to eat is at our fingertips within a
matter of minutes. But how many of these items can also be found locally?
With the recent opening of Wal-Mart in Goddard, I started
thinking about the impact this national chain could have on Cheney and I am
scared to think about what might happen to our locally owned businesses.
Currently, our Main Street is vibrant with every commercial building full. But
as ‘the city’ continues to creep westward we need to be reminded what Goddard lost
a year ago…their local grocery store. Can you begin to imagine not having a local
grocery store, hardware store, or any of our other locally owned businesses in
Cheney? It’s sad to say, but if Cheney residents continue to overlook what is
offered locally- it could happen.
I recently read the article “A Toilet Paper Movement” in the
January 7, 2013 edition of the Hi-Plains Journal. The article talked about the
Chamber of Greater Franklin County in Hampton, Iowa and its buy local campaign.
This got me thinking that the residents of Cheney could easily do the same
simple task…buy their toilet paper
locally. Let’s face it, toilet paper is the one thing that all of us need
and none of us can make an excuse about purchasing. It’s a necessity and our
local grocery store carries a variety.
A study found that the average person uses about 105 rolls
of toilet paper each year. At an average cost of $.60 per roll, and with 2,094
people in Cheney, that comes to roughly $131,922 being spent each year on
toilet paper sales by the citizens of Cheney to purchase 219,870 rolls of
toilet paper. Sadly, Jim’s Foodliner reported that he sold approximately 33,367
rolls of toilet paper in Cheney in 2012, or in other words our local retailer
missed out on selling 186,503 rolls of toilet paper. That’s a whopping $111,901
in lost sales.
Most people think they can save money by buying their toilet
paper in Wichita. So I did a price comparison between Jim’s Foodliner and Sam’s
Club. Sam’s toilet paper is .52/roll. Jim’s Foodliner frequently has sales on
their toilet paper and it can be purchased at prices varying from .42/roll to
.60/roll, plus Jim’s accepts and doubles coupons!
In fact, I’ve price compared several items to our local
grocery store. Recently, I saw a post that a friend had saved 47% on their
groceries at a Wichita retailer. So when I did my grocery shopping last week at
Jim’s Foodliner, I kept track of the original prices of the items I purchased
and found I saved 44%! And the nice thing about my local savings is that my
groceries were carried to my car, I had a minute of commute time, no money was
spent for gas, and I didn’t have to worry about my ice cream melting before I
Shopping local should matter to each of us because the
$111,901 in lost toilet paper sales could have generated sales tax that would
go back into funding local services. Services such as our local fire and police
departments, city parks, senior center, and streets. Not to mention a large
part of that sales tax goes to Topeka, which in return funds our schools. More
importantly, these local sales help support the businesses that donate to local
organizations and generate jobs in our community, employing local people.
In conclusion, I’m not asking everyone to stop going to
Wichita. I’m simply saying that we can start a movement by purchasing our toilet paper from our local grocery
store. I’m asking you to look at what your local stores have to offer before
making that journey elsewhere. If we all start by purchasing one item locally,
perhaps it can lead to a larger movement and we can save our local businesses.
Article posted in the Times Sentinel Newspaper 2-28-13 by Danielle Young (Chamber Board member and City Clerk)