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Take the 7-Day DSM Local Challenge

DSM Local Challenge

June 29, 2020

It was 2009. (Yikes, where did the time go?)

In late July of that year, I announced on Facebook that I would only support local businesses for the entire month of August — no chain restaurants, no big box stores. I wanted to prove that Greater Des Moines (DSM) has a local resource for everything you need. I also wanted to support my favorite local businesses — ones that I would have hated to see close. (You’ll recall times were tough in those days as well.)

Was it a challenge? Yes. But it forced me to be creative.

The work day was easy. I was already in a routine of getting my coffee every morning at the Friedrich’s in 801 Grand and lunch nearly every day at Basil Prosperi. I ventured out to other local lunch spots and coffee shops as well. The occasional happy hour with friends was at 801 Chop House.

I discovered some fun new places too. “Best new find — Waveland West — just like the original!” I declared on Facebook on August 16, 2009.

There were times I was pretty proud of myself. When my ironing board gave out, I didn’t immediately run to Target and buy a new one (along with a bunch of other things I hadn’t intended to buy). Instead, I bartered with a friend. When I needed a different baking pan, I went to the Iowa Lutheran Not New thrift store.

For gas and groceries, I counted Kum & Go, Casey’s, Hy-Vee and Fareway as local stores because, well, they are local stores. It’s a good thing because I ran out of gas while driving around town trying to find a local pet store with food for my picky (and hack-prone) cats.

Overall, it was a fun month and a great exercise. Not going to lie, I do love Target. But when I need to purchase something, I first ask myself “can I purchase this locally?” It’s a habit that I’m happy has stuck with me even more than a decade after a finished “all-local August.”

Get Involved — Buy Local

Which is why I hope you’ll give it a try. The Greater Des Moines Partnership and Catch Des Moines have launched a 7-day DSM Local Challenge. From Thursday, June 25 through Wednesday, July 1, they’re challenging us to patronize local businesses exclusively. No chain restaurants. No big box stores.

I hope you’ll take the challenge. I hope you’ll challenge your friends to do it as well. I hope you’ll post about your experience on social media so others can be inspired and learn about some of the great local resources we have right here in DSM USA. If you do, I think you’ll appreciate the experience.

Find out more about the 7-Day DSM Local Challenge.

To participate in the 7-Day DSM Local Challenge, Greater Des Moines residents can take the pledge to support locally owned businesses by completing an online form here.

Susan Stocum

Susan Stocum is director of business development and communications for US insurance solutions distribution at Principal. She has been with Principal for 19 years and has worked in Downtown Des Moines (DSM) her entire career.