A ‘starting point’ for shopping local

By Chelsea Chambers, Photography by Mark Dyrud

The value of shopping and buying local becomes ever more prevalent in our growing economy. With the expansion of the internet and online shopping, our sense of community tends to grow further and further away into the realms of cheap products and free shipping. However, there is a burning need to shop local and keep the Idaho economy circulating in our homestead. Not only is it of great benefit for those who live in this beautiful state, it also fuels schools and education, libraries, hospitals, and other non-profits, inspires creativity and maintains to keep fresh, quality food and products available year round. We all know how easy it is to shop online, but in retrospect, it is imperative that we take a few extra minutes out of our day and drive down to our local stores and help support Idaho.

Benchmark is a local retailer that has been serving Idaho for over thirty years with high-quality products for all of your outdoor camping and travel needs. Started by a charismatic businessman with an affinity for adventure, Emil Hutton, Benchmark has been a famed local store since 1985 that carries top-brand, long-lasting products at an affordable price.

The word ‘benchmark’ means a starting point, a point of reference for all other measures, which is perfect for Hutton’s idea behind the store. After moving to Boise and opening Benchmark, Hutton began to see the value and importance behind being a locally owned store that gives back to the community. He believes wholeheartedly in the ideal that “the health of the community comes from commerce in the community itself,” and we agree one hundred percent.

Upon entering the store, customers are promptly greeted and treated like family by a knowledgeable staff that aids in making the best purchase for their needs. At over 16,000 square feet, Benchmark holds more high-quality gear than ever imagined with two levels of merchandise eloquently spanned across the store. Simply being in Benchmark makes one crave a new adventure.

Emil himself is highly dedicated to fueling the Idaho economy and does so by providing local employment and fair prices on sales that return themselves to the community. It is the most sustainable way to do business both as an owner and a consumer. His beliefs on staying local are monumental and moving in ways that really shift perspectives to focus more on our Idaho economy. When asked his thoughts, he responded with heartfelt conviction, “It’s important to understand the repercussions of outside buying.” As tried-and-true Idahoans, we are supported by our state – Idaho provides jobs, education, food, entertainment, our homes, and countless more amenities. While we don’t have to stave off entirely and never buy anything from an outside chain again, we do need to thoroughly understand the benefit of purchasing locally produced and locally sourced goods. The money spent goes right back into the community and eventually, will circle itself back to you. Whether it be for a new pair of gloves for this glacial winter or a backpacking tent for your trip to the Sawtooths, shopping at Benchmark is a great way to share your support for local business and the Idaho economy.

Buying locally is saying, “Thank you” to Idaho. Thank you for your incredible mountains, your endless rivers, forever-green forests, and the beautiful land upon which we live and thrive.