Cottrell gift inspires local shopping effort
By By Lydia Grimes
A year after his first “stimulus package” was delivered to employees, Brewton pharmacist Danny Cottrell gave high school seniors at T.R. Miller and W.S. Neal a similar bonus — $30 each in $2 bills.
The only caveat from Cottrell: Shop at home, and give a portion to charity.
For the past few weeks, those bills have been turning up in local businesses, including fast food restaurants and retail stores.
Inspired by that generosity, The Brewton Standard is asking local residents to “Paint the Town Green” for the next two weeks by putting a focus on shopping locally.
Cottrell said he wanted to give students a simple lesson in the importance of local sales tax dollars — which help fuel everything from school budgets to city services, as well as help local merchants pay their employees and pay for their own needs.
In his brief economics lesson for the students, Cottrell referred to statistics from the Alabama Retail Association to help illustrate how money spent locally continues to turn over in the economy.
The most obvious benefit is often the tax revenue received — $1 out of every $100 goes to schools, $1 to the county, $3 goes to the city, and $4 goes to the state. That money helps pay for local services.
But as Cottrell noted, local money that purchases items at local stores turns around in the economy several times over.
Out of $100, $13 goes back to that retails business’s personnel, and $8 goes to taxes, Cottrell explained, with $4.50 as net profit to the business — which often goes back into the local economy as merchants spend money on what they need.
Since his gift to students, Cottrell said he has heard from many students grateful for the money — and the lesson.
The $2 bills were scattered around Brewton and East Brewton and showed up in the cash registers around both towns.
Tonya Howard at Burger King said they saw some of the money come through their system.
Wal-Mart also saw some of the money come in.
In East Brewton, Bakies took in a number of the dollars.
The Brewton Standard’s “Paint the Town Green” effort kicks off Monday, and participating businesses will have fliers up in their windows as well as stickers for customers to wear when they make a purchase.
The effort will last through March 25.