Although the posters saw no public display, they were recently rediscovered and the theme has been used in numerous public campaigns.
Times-Georgian publisher Leonard Woolsey saw one of the posters and thought it would be a unique theme for getting shoppers to spend their Christmas dollars close to home. Thus, the “Keep Calm and Shop Local” slogan was born, with a subtitle, “Your Decisions Do Make A Difference.”
“The idea was to create something that would stand out from the clutter, be memorable and inspire people to shop locally,” Woolsey said.
He was quickly able to get the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, where he serves as chairman, to sign onto the program. The city of Carrollton, Carrollton Main Street and the city of Villa Rica followed suit.
“All of us are working together to remind folks that shopping local is the thing to do,” Woolsey said. “This is the first time that all these entities have come together in a team effort to encourage local shopping.”
He said the trendy, but plain looking, signs will soon adorn windows all over the county. Hundreds of T-shirts with the slogan and advertisements will spread the theme.
“It’s a very creative and unique campaign, and I think it will get people’s attention,” said Jessica Reynolds, executive director of Carrollton Main Street. “It will make people smile a bit and remind them of the importance of shopping locally.”
Reynolds said the campaign fits right in with her organization’s mission to bring people downtown to shop. She said the Main Street program already offers some incentives of its own.
“First, we have the Main Street membership discount card,” she said. “It gives shoppers savings of 10 percent or more at about 50 participating businesses. The cards can be purchased online.”
The second incentive is the Downtown Dollars program, with gift certificates people can purchase that are spent just like dollars.
“They come in denominations of $10 and $25,” Reynolds said. “The great thing about them is that they go back to the businesses, 100 percent. It’s a great way to know when you’re giving gift money, it will stay local.”
Donna Lackey, vice president of business development and community relations for the Chamber, said this new “Keep Calm” campaign also goes “hand in hand” with the Chamber’s “Shop Carroll First” program.
“We’re always happy to join with other partners to promote keeping our dollars here in Carroll County,” Lackey said. “Every dollar that stays here generates 7 cents sales tax to help pay for local services.”
She said the Chamber has a gift check program that sells the checks in $25 increments, and they’re good in more than 100 stores in the county.
“They spend just like checks,” she said. “The stores can drop them in the night deposit at the bank.”
Villa Rica City Manager Larry Wood said he’s happy to have his city in the program.
“My wife and I try to do all our shopping right here in Villa Rica,” Wood said. “It helps our merchants, gives employment to people who live here and is critical to the economy. It also helps the city with local option sales tax payments.”
He said he always prefers the convenience of local shopping, avoiding the hassle of city traffic this time of year.
“We encourage everyone we can to shop locally,” Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner said. “We’re giving our employees Christmas bonuses again this year. It’s been our experience that almost all that money is spent locally on Christmas items.”
Woolsey said the whole goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the importance of shopping locally.
“It’s a humorous way to drive home the point that shopping is important to the local community,” he said.