Like many of his neighbors and fellow Lawrence residents, Jason Edmonds figured he'd need to head to the Kansas City area to buy a car.
Then it hit him: Why not start in Lawrence?
It wasn't long before Edmonds was pulling out of a lot on South Iowa Street, turning his new SUV toward home and understanding the value of keeping his business in town. He paid the same or better price, secured local service and - perhaps most of all - knew that his tax money and purchase price would be going right back to work by financing public services, paying his neighbors' wages and continuing to turn over throughout the business community.
It's an investment that couldn't happen anywhere else.
"Dollars spent here compound throughout the community," said Edmonds, vice president and financial adviser for Morgan Stanley in Lawrence. "If you reinvest in your portfolio - if you think of Lawrence like an investment portfolio - if we reinvest the dividends, it continues to build equity in the community. It continues to compound the growth and the strength of the economy. And that, in turn, leads to healthy schools, healthy city services, parks and amenities that we won't otherwise be able to afford as a community.
"And, as consumers, if we want a robust offering of businesses and services in the community - if we want to have a healthy downtown and a healthy financial sector and health care - we want to keep that business local."
Such thoughts are the focus of Start Here Week, organized by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce to boost awareness of its ongoing campaign to emphasize the importance of spending money in Lawrence whenever possible.
The week starts Monday and continues with distribution of informational materials, a mayoral proclamation and gift-certificate giveaways.
Edmonds, who serves as vice chairman for the chamber's Small Business Committee, said it was important to note that the week would involve businesses throughout town, not just chamber members. Volunteers will pick up informational packets Monday morning, then will visit 2,000 shops and offices to provide background about the campaign, plus "Start Here" window stickers and lapel pins and forms for customers and clients to use for entering a "Start Here" drawing.
Grand prize: More than $1,000 in gift certificates to Lawrence businesses.
"It pays to 'Start Here,' " said Cathy Lewis, the chamber's vice president for membership.