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When Missouri's then-Lieutentant Governor, Mike Parson, and his wife went shopping during a recent trip to Vermont, they were struck by how intentional the Green Mountain State is about branding its locally made products.
“It’s very ‘in your face.’ They’re very intentional about telling you what is made locally,” Parson said during a May 14 visit to the Chamber. “And people notice it – it affects their buying practices.”
Parson believes Missouri can do the same thing, and he’s hoping his new Buy Missouri initiative is the start of that effort. The program is what brought him to Springfield, as part of a 10-city kickoff tour that started in late 2017.
The goal is straight-forward: Identify and compile a list of all products and companies, big and small, that are made in Missouri, so that Show-Me State residents will know which ones to buy to support our state. Parson noted that while it’s easy to name the major retail companies based in this area, such as Bass Pro Shops and O’Reilly Auto Parts, there is a deep and wide-ranging assortment of companies to support around the state.
“We’re all familiar with these products – but we may not be aware of where they’re made,” he told the group of local company representatives and public officials. “So how can we educate the consumer? And how do we make sure the employees are proud of that product and know that they’re helping another employee to create a good life for themselves by buying that product as well?”
The answer is the Buy Missouri initiative. “Growing the economy and creating jobs should be our biggest goal, and we need to remember that 80 percent of all the new jobs that will be created will come from companies that are already here,” he said. “We should be doing our part to help support those businesses.”