From The Top: Jim Peters, Buy Local Naperville
By David Sharos For The Sun February 8, 2013 3:00PM
A graduate of Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications, Jim Peters, 45, currently operates his own business, Modern Business Interiors, here in Naperville, which he launched in 2009. | Submitted
Updated: March 11, 2013 6:19AM
If local businesses are going to grow, they depend on the support of residents to keep them thriving. Late last year, business owner Jim Peters got together with a few associates to establish a network that focuses on aiding businesses, consumers and even local nonprofit groups.
Buy Local Naperville reflects the vision of Peters and a few other partners, who took a business-to-business initiative and expanded it to include consumers who can apply for free membership cards and earn reward points from shops who have joined the network.
“There is a group in Elgin that has been doing this successfully, and we were looking for an idea to bring business owners and residents together to think ‘local first’ when it comes to what they are buying,” Peters said. “The idea is that businesses decide what percentage of each sale they are willing to give back in reward points, which is typically something between 3 and 10 percent in discounts that be applied to future purchases.”
A 1990 graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a degree in communications, Peters, 45, operates his own business, Modern Business Interiors, in Naperville. He launched it in 2009. Peters said he has worked in some capacity in the office products business since he graduated.
“Prior to opening my own business, I worked for a company known as Boise Cascade, which eventually became OfficeMax and later for an office products company in Wheaton where I spent eight years,” he said. “I got interested in this because of the various product lines and the fact that you can offer something to just about anyone who is in business.”
Peters said the Buy Local Naperville became an offspring of another group known as the Community Business Alliance and that a meeting with Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel in January 2012 proved to be the catalyst for the “buy local” idea, which also helps raise money for local charities.
“We were looking to raise awareness of the CBA, and at the time, it was a business-to-business group only,” Peters said. “The idea was to shift to local vendors instead of having people buy things online or going to a big box retailer. The goal was to strengthen the community here and create jobs in Naperville.”
Peters said the plan is to promote the BLN through email blasts, its website, and through appearances at community events as well as through pitches made to school districts, city agencies and other groups, who can be issued membership cards and elect to have a certain percentage of company or organization members’ purchases be funneled back into their own designated fund.
“We’re talking about maybe issuing 200 cards to employees of a school district and maybe 1 percent of the purchases they make going back to fund the school band project or a not-for-profit group of their choice,” Peters said.
Kyle Phillips, vice president of marketing at Sir Speedy of Naperville, who is working with Peters, said the Plainfield resident “has strong concern for the local community” as well as a desire to see the BLN network grow.
“We currently have 17 members in the group, and our hope is that this will really explode during the coming year,” Phillips said. “Jim realizes that one of the trends in society is to grow local businesses, and he’s someone who has good interpersonal skills to reach out to others, and has the passion for this. He’s very truthful, down-to-earth, and cares a lot about families and the community, and puts that into action on a daily basis.”
To find out more about the Buy Local Naperville and its members, visit www.BuyLocalNaperville.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buylocalnaperville to keep informed about the latest news.
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