Ho, ho, ho! It’s time to shop! Wouldn’t it be cool if every one gift you purchased doubled and ended up beneath two Christmas trees instead of just one? It can happen. The question is, where are you spending your dollars?

In the world of destination marketing, visitors are the target. Marketing is fueled by hotel tax generated by overnight visitors with the purpose of reinvesting the money in more marketing to sustain this vital stream of revenue at both the local and state levels. The hotel part of the destination equation, however, is just a piece of the big picture.

How many of you have ever stayed in a hotel and spent no money beyond the cost of your room? Exactly. Guests eat, shop, entertain themselves, purchase services like catering and decorating, even buy gas before leaving town. Visitors’ extraneous spending is the lion’s share of money they will leave in a city. Destination marketing is the pursuit of all of these expenditures combined, an impact on hotel and sales tax that result in local business revenue and sustaining citizens’ quality of life. This is the crux of economic development. When the city is thriving, people want to be here. They want to visit, live, work, and invest.

Holiday Open House - Girls ShoppingSo what role do we citizens play in this big picture? The most important thing we can do is decide to keep our dollars circulating in Denton.

It’s Christmas time. We are all in the throes of shopping fervor, trying to get those gifts wrapped and under the tree. In today’s hyper-cyber world, how many of us are doing that shopping online, exchanging money with who knows who and where? Oh, I get it. All snuggled up with your laptop and a cup of coffee, feet in fuzzy house shoes propped up on the coffee table. Right. Easy. But here’s the deal: when you shop local, every purchase you make also leaves money under the proverbial Denton Christmas tree. Why? Because those tax dollars are impacting our Denton way and life.

Money will change hands more freely in the next few weeks than the entire rest of the year. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that is why advertisers bring Christmas to the forefront before we’ve carved our Halloween pumpkins.

So, let’s say we all agree to think about where we will invest our money this season. Rule number one is “get off the couch.” Local mom and pop stores are everywhere in Denton, especially in our downtown region. Try them out. If big box department stores are your thing, determine to think Denton’s big box stores. We have plenty of those, too. How about our own Golden Triangle Mall if mall shopping is your preference? Our mall is sporting a whole new look: new stores, new dining options.

img_2273The Discover Denton Welcome Center is a new spot downtown this holiday season. We have all kinds of Denton gifts you won’t find anywhere else, plus Texas and travel-themed items and even gift cards for those shoppers who prefer to let gift recipients choose for themselves.

The point is, close the laptop and get about town.

And beyond Christmas, need a new car? Think local. Need new tires on the old car? Think local. These are examples of big-ticket expenditures. Choose to make these purchases here, at home, where your tax dollars go right back to work for you.

The definition of a visitor is a person spending time in a destination in which they do not live. Have you ever thought about the fact that every single time you make a purchase somewhere besides Denton, you are investing visitor dollars into that place’s economy? How much greater is that impact when we are checking off items from our Christmas lists?

We are every one a participant in the health of our economy, and therefore our sales tax revenues that enable our local government to better our quality of life. Sales tax funds parks, roads, services like police and firefighters, beautification, contributes to education, facilities, and activities that enhance the culture and life of our city. The more we have in our coffers, the more our citizens realize the impact in ways we typically take for granted – until they are curbed or removed for lack of appropriate budget. Whether we opt to spend at home or elsewhere, we make an impact. One is positive for Denton. The other is positive for another place and citizens not our own.

If we think local, our money will follow. Give the gift that gives twice. Keep it in Denton. Happy shopping!