Pay it Forward February: Buy Alaska

Department of Health and Social Services encourages Alaskans to Pay It Forward in February.
Department of Health and Social Services encourages Alaskans to Pay It Forward in February.(Alaska DHSS)
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 9:16 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is sponsoring Pay it Forward February and the Buy Alaska program says one good way to help others is to support local businesses.

“Small businesses in Alaska, really are the backbone of our communities,” says Katie Ashbaugh the Program Manager for Buy Alaska. “You know, not only are they contributing to what makes what makes our communities bright, and you know, what makes them rich and vibrant, but they really have compounding benefits on Alaska’s economy.”

And if you don’t know where to start, Buy Alaska has a directory of locally owned businesses that would benefit from your support.

In the month that it has been live on their website, Ashbaugh says 400 businesses have signed up for the free listing. You can search for a type of business or one in your region.

Ashbaugh says she hopes more Alaskan-owned businesses come to the site and create a listing.

She also says supporting local helps the overall economy.

“For some local retailers, we’re seeing about two times as much that’s returned into the Alaskan economy than you might see from buying from a national retailer,” says Ashbaugh. “And then, you know, local restaurants are seeing up to three times amount return to Alaska’s economy, and buying online, we’re not seeing almost anything come back to Alaska’s economy just a little bit for delivery, paying a delivery driver and stuff like that. But by shopping small, you’re really investing into Alaska’s economy. And so not only are you helping the businesses that are in need right now, but we’re really investing into the state.”

And it doesn’t have to cost you anything either, Ashbaugh says you can influence the buying habits of others through social media. She says that kind of support goes a long way.

“That can range from writing a good review for a local business sharing their communications on your social media page,” says Ashbaugh. “Social media is a really powerful tool and getting businesses the visibility that they need is a really, really great way that you can pay it forward and, and get their name out there. And that, you know, that doesn’t cost a dime.”

Ashbaugh says a small shift in consumer spending has a great effect and encourages Alaskans to set a goal of searching for a local business instead of a national retailer.

If you want to share your pay-it-forward experiences DHSS encourages you to use #withyoualaska.

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