The city of Upper Arlington and the Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce have long partnered to promote the importance of supporting our local service and retail community.

The Live in UA? Shop in UA! awareness campaign has been in existence for eight years, providing seasonal reminders to residents of the benefits that come from shopping locally. And community awareness of the campaign's mantra is certainly high.

But we believe we can do more to support this important segment of our community, especially in light of today's economic climate. As such, the city and Chamber are already making plans to take Live in UA? Shop in UA! to a new level in 2009 and beyond.

The Chamber is preparing to reinstate and reinvigorate its Retail Committee in 2009. Chamber President Becky Hajost is seeking committed retail business representatives to join her in turning the Committee into an energized and effective planning team and retail advocate. Ideally, representatives from the community's various shopping areas will be found to help expand the Committee's efforts and serve as liaisons with the businesses they represent.

The Live in UA? Shop in UA! campaign materials and logo have always been available for use by the retail and service community, however few have taken advantage of that opportunity. In 2009 and beyond we hope to change that, with a more proactive approach to working directly with businesses to better understand their needs and how to make sure the campaign messaging and materials are more readily accessible.

With the Retail Committee's assistance, it is hoped the Chamber and city can partner to host a resource event or series of informational workshops geared to providing small businesses useful information on business planning, effective marketing and more.

Live in UA? Shop in UA! typically has three seasons when the campaign is most visible: summer as families plan vacations and activities for their children; fall and back to school activities; and the all-important holiday season, the most profitable time for retailers.

Using the UA Chamber Business Monthly special section, space will be set aside for seasonally related campaign promotions, with opportunities for local businesses to participate at special prices. As the year draws to a close and the holiday season begins, this effort will be expanded even further.

Look for regular features about the shopping areas and businesses to be found in our community in both city and Chamber newsletters. And of course, you can expect to see an expanded Web presence for the campaign.

It all sounds like a recipe for success, but there's one important component we need to realize our goals - representation from the businesses we are working to support. If you are a service or retail business owner or manager and you are interested in getting more involved in the Live in UA? Shop in UA! campaign in 2009, we want to hear from you. Call Becky at 481-5710.