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In 2011, Western New York businesses spent $68.4 billion on goods and services from outside the region, according to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

To keep some of that money here, the Partnership is challenging area businesses this year to complete one first-time purchase from a local supplier.

“We would like to see the private sector do a better job of buying local,” said Craig Turner, vice president of the Partnership. “It’s not necessarily shopping and eating on Hertel or Elmwood, which are all fine, but business-to-business connections, sourcing locally for legal, architecture, paper, printing, tapping into the local resources.”

The Buy Local Challenge kicked off in January, and its target for 2013 is 100 businesses.

“The whole point is to get out the word that buying local, actively reinvesting in your community is a good thing,” said Nicole Rosso, business development coordinator at the Partnership.

With a goal of 100 business, Rosso said, “an awful a lot of jobs can be created.”

So far, six businesses have completed the challenge.

Westmatic Corp., a Cheektowaga company, was the first. The manufacturer of automatic wash systems for large vehicles struck a deal with another Cheektowaga company to provide spinners for its systems.

“I think it’s a great step to promote local businesses,” said Chris Jordan, purchasing/logistics manager for Westmatic. “You can get a good, quality product in Buffalo. It’s a good way to build relationships, and it’s always important to help your neighbor.”

Westmatic was already looking for a supplier for high-pressure spinners when it learned of the Buy Local Challenge. The company completed the requirement not long after it was announced in January.

Rosso said Westmatic’s quick completion was a promising sign the program would be a success.

Westmatic purchased six spinners for its touchless truck-wash system from the Pol-tek Industries machine shop. Pol-tek appreciated the business and looks forward to more.

“We established a good, working relationship with those guys at Westmatic, and it benefited us,” said Marty Ostrowski, shop manager at Pol-tek.

Ostrowski said the challenge could help recoup jobs lost to outsourcing.

“Hopefully, this leads to more work down the road,” he said.

Upon completion of the program, companies are recognized by the Partnership and receive a window decal for the entrance of their business.

The challenge will become an annual program.

email: esapong@buffnews.com