COLUMBIA – The first Buy Missouri Week starts this weekend.
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe will travel across the state this weekend to promote Missouri-made products.
The initiative was handed down from now Gov. Mike Parson to the lieutenant governor this year. Its purpose is to improve the state’s economy by encouraging consumers to shop local.
Kehoe said he was a fan of the program when Parson introduced it. He said he worked with Parson to introduce and pass legislation to start Buy Missouri Week.
“I feel it is important to keep promoting Missouri businesses and making sure Missouri consumers know what products are available on the shelves as they go out to look for something,” Kehoe said.
Kehoe’s first stop on the tour will be in Jefferson City on Monday at DeLong's Inc. He is set to also visit Columbia, Hannibal, Canton, Hamilton and Kingsville.
According to Kehoe, there are 150 companies listed on a directory on BuyMissouri.net. During the tour, the lieutenant governor said he hopes to expand that. He said he will thank companies who are already registered. He will also stop and speak with companies who have asked for more information about the program.
The goal is to promote the website which features Missouri businesses. Companies are only eligible to be in the directory if their products have at least 51% Missouri content. Businesses are categorized by trade and location.
One of the seven Boone County businesses is Traditions in Woodworking. Owner Chris Heston said it is important to support small businesses.
“We employ people and we live in the community. So through Buy Missouri, other Missourians benefit, I pay taxes like everybody else. So it’s a good thing to buy and support your local businesses,” Heston said.
He said he interacts and supports other local businesses with his own, buying finish and wood from them.
“It’s that one dollar you spend is how many times that dollar is spent over and over again,” Heston said.
He said it means a lot to him that Lt. Gov. Kehoe is carrying on what Gov. Parson started.
“It shows that they care and that they understand what the engine that drives the economy and makes it better for all of us,” Heston said.
Kehoe said the purpose of BuyMissouri is to promote local companies and what they produce.
“It’s amazing to find out what things are made here that I never knew and that most people in the state don’t know or may hear,” he said.
Kehoe said he encourages Missourians to promote local businesses all year, not just during BuyMissouri Week.