Bring the Money Home!

guest blog post submitted by Deb Brown of debworks

Deb Brown is the CMO, chief foot soldier, answering machine and traveler at Debworks.  Debworks is a marketing organization, traditional and new media, dedicated to getting the word out about your business. | 641-580-0103


What if you made the decision to purchase one product locally?  You might be surprised at the huge impact just one purchase could have on a small town.

Let’s just consider what would happen if every resident of Greater Franklin County decided to buy their toilet paper locally.  There are 15,000 people in Greater Franklin County and the average person uses 105 rolls of toilet paper a year.  Do the math – just this item would keep almost $2 million dollars in sales in our county.  Two million!  It would also generate $140,000 in sales taxes.

Last year it was estimated that the amount actually spent on toilet paper in Greater Franklin County was $335,800 – that’s lost revenue of $1,631,244!  We haven’t even covered the fact that revenue spent in local businesses tends to stay in the county.  They pay their employees and local taxes, shop for products locally themselves, contribute to non-profit organizations locally and generally support the local community.

Debworks has a commitment to shopping local.  The first thing that comes to mind is shopping at the retail stores.  And we do that.  But we’ve expanded our commitment to say – we support local too.  I live and work in Franklin County and think it’s important that we learn to work together not only to improve quality of life, but also to strengthen our businesses.

What does that mean?  Easy enough – shop local! (See  But it’s more than just shopping local.  It’s also working together.  John F. Kennedy said “a rising tide lifts all boats” (he took it from a New England Chamber of Commerce).  That means if we all work together, we all get better together.

We’re doing a few things in Franklin County that are making a difference:

1.     Thinking about advertising and promotion in an artistic kind of way.

Our Franklin County Arts Council puts on two big productions a year.  At the winter event, it’s a live radio play done on a stage set in the 1940’s.  There are 6-8 commercials between the acts.  These commercials are from local companies!  So not only is your commercial seen live at both showings, it is recorded and played on the radio (and you get the spot for your use) and it is also filmed and you receive that as well.  We like the idea “write once, use many times” – and this works well!  You are supporting the arts, and getting your name out there too. Win-win.

2.     Last year Debworks, Latham Hi Tech Seeds, Franklin County Farm Bureau and Franklin County Tourism teamed up to host a bloggers tour.

We invited 10 bloggers and their families into our community.  We fed them, housed them and entertained them for a weekend.  In turn, they wrote about their adventure in Franklin County.  The short tail on this is – we got immediate blog coverage from Midwest bloggers.  The long tail is – we are still getting noticed and talked about.  CNN found Franklin County and asked some of our residents to come to Des Moines and talk about the caucus with them.  We’ve been featured in newspapers around the state for this tour.  Uptake author Jody Halsted is still posting there about Franklin County.  It continues to be a productive venture.

3.     Debworks and Latham Hi-Tech Seeds are putting together a Partnership Seminar to be held at the end of the month at TownsEnd Winery

We’ve invited a few local businesses to attend and brainstorm on different ways to partner this year.  We’re looking at the calendar for the year’s events (thanks to the Chamber for keeping a great community calendar!) and figuring out how we can be involved and partner up with other businesses.  For example, Shannon’s Pumpkin Patch might partner up with Country Heritage Bed and Breakfast.  For visitors traveling out of town to visit the Harriman Nielsen Historic Farm over their Festival weekend, they could stay at the B and B and take home a great pumpkin from Shannon’s Pumpkin Patch and attend the Festival.  Just imagine what the winery, the Soybean Association and the downtown retailers could dream up!

So why not take a good, hard look at what is available in your community.  What is the Historical Society doing?  How about County Conservation?  Don’t forget the Farm Bureau and Soybean Association.  Now – how can you as a business owner create some fun things that bring people to you?  As a consumer – where can you shop local and help support your community?