In Napa, 2012 has been a year of debate over the health of the local economic scene as , older ones and over plans by Starbucks to open a downtown café.
But while some Napans have responded by imposing restrictions on national "formula businesses" like Starbucks downtown, others have been focusing their efforts on encouraging fellow residents to shop at home.
First came last winter's campaign, arts advocate Ann Trinca's grassroots effort urging county residents to do their holiday shopping at local stores.
Now another Napa woman is announcing her plan to encourage local shoppers to spend their money here, instead of out of county or online.
Karen Lucia, an entrepreneur who with her husband Jeff runs on Jefferson Street, has launched her "Shop Local Napa" website, shoplocalnapa.org, with plans to create a discount card giving Napa residents a comprehensive discount at participating local businesses.
"The website's up," Lucia said last week. "All we need is merchants to start participating."
Lucia said she got the idea for the card from , which offers member discounts.
"Why not do that, but do it basically on steroids?" said Lucia, describing her plan in which local merchants would commit to an across-the-board discount for card-carrying county residents.
"They have to offer at least a 5 percent discount" to Napa County residents, with nothing held back, she said. Participating merchants will pay an annual $250 membership fee to be featured on the site, Lucia added.
The idea for the campaign itself, Lucia continued, came when a customer realized a shirt from Grapeleaf Graphics cost less for better quality than a similar one purchased from a well-known online retailer.
Lucia writes on her new website,
As a Native Napan, Local Napa business owner and shopper, I was constantly getting asked if I can make something at my own shop that my customer was going to buy online but it was too expensive and was going to take too long to make, so... that got me thinking that there is not enough resources easily found on line for local Napa residents to direct them to local Napa merchants who can supply exactly what they are looking for right here!
While Lucia is based in the city of Napa, she's setting her sights on the whole county.
"I'm getting interest from Upvalley," she said.
She has hired a sales manager, Lucia continued, and plans to have the program up and running in time for holiday shopping.
To learn more about the program, visit shoplocalnapa.org or call Lucia at (707) 208-1478.