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RCS partners up with city for Shop Russellville 1st initiative

In a campaign to raise awareness of how shopping locally boosts the local economy and helps local schools, Russellville City Schools is partnering with the City of Russellville for the Shop Russellville 1st campaign.

RCS Superintendent Heath Grimes said a lot of people are probably aware shopping local helps the community, but they might not be aware how much of an impact it can have on the school system.

“In times past, shopping local was something our parents taught us, and we all made a conscious effort to spend money in our hometown. But just like many other things we all love to talk about but aren’t actually put into practice, shopping local has fallen by the wayside in favor of convenience and what better fits our schedules and lifestyles,” Grimes said. 

When people shop inside the city limits, Grimes explained, “that sales tax money goes to the City of Russellville. RCS receives a portion of the city’s sales tax revenue, so the more sales tax revenue that comes in, the more funds we’re able to receive for the schools.

“We talk a lot at RCS about ‘showing your Golden Tiger Pride,’ but we want people to understand that means more than just cheering for a team at an athletic event,” Grimes added. “It’s being an integral part of the community and supporting the city and schools in any way you can. It’s taking pride in our city and its businesses and services. It’s supporting our neighbors and friends and making shopping local a priority.”

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said he is happy to partner with the schools to promote something that can positively benefit all aspects of the city.

“We have a lot to be proud of in our city,” Grissom said. “We have good folks who own and operate businesses here who need our support.” 

Grissom said he hopes people will remember every purchase they make supports their friends and neighbors in Russellville. 

“When you buy your groceries from a local establishment, you’re helping a family put food on their table. When you go to a local hairdresser or barber, you’re helping that person pay their bills for the month,” Grissom said. “When you buy your gas locally, you’re helping those employees earn a salary that allows them to take care of their families. 

“These people are our friends and our neighbors. We see them at church or at the football game on Friday night. We pass them on the roads. Our kids go to school with their kids. These are the people we want to support,” Grissom said. “And in turn, when our sales tax revenue increases, we can turn around and invest that money back into the city and local economy to continue to make Russellville a great place to live and work.” 

Grimes said RCS is excited to partner with the city and give students an opportunity to have real-world application for things they learn in the classroom – another facet of the Shop Russellville 1st initiative

Russellville High School career and technical education director Natalie Bendall said students who are members of the RHS Youth Leadership Academy and members of the CTE entrepreneurship class will come up with ideas for the campaign, design graphics, create promotional material and execute the campaign.

“This is such a great opportunity for our students specifically interested in leadership, business and entrepreneurship to step into a leadership role outside the school and in the community,” Bendall said. “They will be working on something that will have a direct impact on the city and on the schools – and in the process, they’re going to learn a lot about the city and what we have to offer here.” 

Grimes said he hopes to see the Russellville community get behind the campaign and realize the impact they have in the city.

“This has the potential to really help many local business owners and employees of these businesses as well as the schools,” he said. “For RCS, the sales tax revenue we receive goes towards things like our fine arts department classes and organizations, our extracurricular activities, our career tech department, our athletic programs and even salaries to help employ enough people in these areas and others.

“It’s a great campaign and something everyone can get involved with.”