Crested Butte finance director makes case for shopping locally

Post office overwhelmed with packages

By Mark Reaman

In his latest financial update for the town of Crested Butte, finance director Rob Zillioux said he did not expect the town to suffer sales tax revenue losses on his high-end projection. Instead of being down $2 million in sales tax revenue compared to 2019, he expected to be down between $1.2 million and $1.5 million.

“We are currently down 21 percent for the year because of the hit we took in March when everything shut down,” he told the council at the June 1 meeting. “But the town is fiscally in good shape even with the current challenges and the staff has highlighted several places we can cut costs this year.”

Zillioux then gave an impassioned argument for people in the community to spend their dollars in town and in the county.

“The number one thing by far that we can do as a community to help is shop at the stores in town. Right now is the time to shop locally,” he said. “I heard that the local post office received 2,200 packages in the last two days. Most of those come from online retailers like Amazon.”

Crested Butte post office employees posted that figure on social media last week and asked that people come retrieve packages as soon as possible since there was no more space to store packages.

Zillioux said it was up to people living in the community to support their neighbors who are struggling with their businesses during the coronavirus crisis. “I would really encourage locals to go to local vendors and order merchandise from them if they don’t have it on their shelves. Buy your shoes at the local shoe store. Order your new seat post from the local bike shop. There is not a lot of reason to shop on Amazon other than it is convenient and easy. If you spend locally, that money will stay in the community. The shop will use it to pay employees or go out to dinner locally. The money recycles within the valley. Online shopping is a big problem for local business.”

Zillioux said ancillary benefits such as reducing the use of plastic that comes in packaging and supporting the creative district also come into play. “Another impact is on local non-profits,” he emphasized. “Local businesses end up supporting the local non-profits that help make this place what it is. I doubt Amazon will be donating to the Mountain Theatre. And taxes are generated by shopping locally that help pay for things like the parks and recreation programs in town. Plus you get the personal touch of seeing friends when you shop in town.”

“And you don’t have to wait in line at the post office,” added mayor Jim Schmidt.

“Shopping locally really does make a difference so I hope people take it seriously,” concluded council member Will Dujardin.

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