When billboards proclaiming "Buy Local Orlando" first appeared in Orlando, Florida, Julie Norris, a cafe owner who last year co-founded Ourlando, an initiative to support indie businesses, was excited to see the concept getting such visibility. But she soon realized that the city-funded program, which provides businesses who join with a "Buy Local" decal, seminars at the Disney Entrepreneur Center, and a listing on the web site, was open to any business in Orlando. "We sat down with the city and said, 'What you guys are doing is a real disservice to the local business movement,'" she said.
The city did agree to remove from its press materials and web site a reference to a study that found that, for every $100 spent locally, $45 stays in the community. The problem was that the study, conducted by the firm Civic Economics, found that to be true only if the money was spent at a locally owned business. Shop at a chain store, the analysis found, and only $13 of that $100 spent stays in the community.