It was another record year for the Rome Chamber of Commerce's "Shop Rome First" campaign.

Chamber Board Chairman, Mike Manuele, says the program has grown more successful since its inception in 2002.

"Over the last 11 years that we've held this we have seen increases just about every single year from the previous year, and those are only December figures," Manuele said.

Last December, the "Shop Rome First" campaign brought in more than $588,040 in sales tax revenues, up eight percent from 2011's total.

The $45,000 increase in sales tax revenue equates to nearly $3 million in added sales.

Rome Chamber President, Bill Guglielmo, says shopping locally does more than simply keep money in the community.

"Shopping in your local community helps you to preserve jobs, helps to develop new jobs and brings in that very important sales tax money that local governments need so they can meet their obligations," Guglielmo said.

The group says shopping locally also helps keep taxes low, since more revenue is coming in.

"Shop Rome First" was implemented following a 2001 Zogby International poll that found nearly 75 percent of Rome's residents were shopping outside the city during the holiday season.

The local program encourages shoppers to buy in Rome through contests, a Treasure Hunt and discounts good from Thanksgiving through Christmas. This past year, the group also began to use social media to its advantage.

About 53 stores took part in last year's program.

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