Issaquah Chamber fearful bag ban will force shoppers elsewhere

The Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce hopes the recent passing of plastic bag ban won't drive shoppers elsewhere.

The Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce hopes the recent passing of plastic bag ban won’t drive shoppers elsewhere.

The organization said Monday it is concerned at comments made by some citizens that they would discontinue shopping in Issaquah in response to the plastic bag ban and mandatory consumer fee for paper bags.

“While relatively small in number, we are growing concerned about the increasing number of comments made by members of the public indicating they are considering shopping elsewhere in response to this issue,” said Matthew Bott, CEO of the Issaquah Chamber. “We urge consumers to continue to support our business community.”

The Chamber indicated three reasons for this concern:

  • Unlike most cities in Washington, Issaquah has a unique reliance on regional consumers. For every one resident, approximately two other non-residents shop in Issaquah. The City is a regional retail hub, and has a strong reliance on out-of-town/regional consumers for commercial activity.
  • The community is heavily reliant on sales taxes for a large percentage of the municipal budget. Should even a few consumers change-long established shopping patterns, it could mean a loss to tax revenues.
  • The half dozen large “anchor” stores in Issaquah act as feeders for the smaller businesses which surround them. A loss of consumers to these anchor tenants, however slight, has a substantial ripple effect on neighboring small businesses.

“While commercial transactions of all sizes are important to our community, we are especially concerned with remarks by some area consumers that they will re-consider purchasing big-ticket items in Issaquah – boats, cars, televisions and the like – merely out of frustration for this issue,” Bott said. “We recognize that consumers have a choice with where to spend their dollars, but now is not the time to discontinue support of the local businesses who provide our jobs, sales tax revenue and economic vitality.  The benefits of shopping locally are well-established and we encourage Issaquah’s local and regional consumers to continue to support our businesses.”

The Chamber also reminded consumers they can avoid the five-cents per bag consumer fee by making a one-time purchase of cloth reusable bags, available from retailers across the community. It also encouraged local consumers and businesses to actively participate in recycling programs, reuse of products/packaging and support waste reduction programs including establishment of proper waste/recycling/compost stream systems and voluntary reductions of non-renewable or high carbon-footprint materials wherever possible.

“Waste reduction, recycling and litter control are community goals we all share,” Bott said.

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