Friday, August 7, 2009

Introducing the 3/50 Project

I get a lot of crap from certain folks, only a select few, about being such a buy-local booster, but to those individuals I say quit trying to impress me with your contrarian hipness. I think it is lame.

To the rest of you, I continue my quest to get you to buy stuff from Clevo. I came across this project a few days ago, not sure how but probably through somebody's blog or email or facebook status update or whatever. Anyway, my poor memory means I'm not going to be able to give credit where credit is due, but please know that I appreciate you.

What I can do is share with you the 3/50 Project. This doesn't have anything to do with me, just something cool I came across, really dig, and think you might, too.

The 3/50 Project has a mission that as simple as it is necessary - the tag line sums it all up pretty nicely: "saving the brick and mortars our nation is built on."

In other words, the project's goal is to save independent store-front businesses. They get their name from a nifty little mental exercise they ask folks to consider.

First, what are 3 independently owned businesses you would miss if they disappeared?

Figure it out? Good, now you should just stop in, say hi, maybe pick up a little something that makes you smile. After all, those little somethings (and every once in a while a bigger something) is what keeps these places open.

Second, did you know that if just half the employed population of the United States spent a mere $50 a month in locally-owned independent businesses, that would account for an additional $42.6 billion dollars in revenue for those businesses? Note: that isn't $50 per business, that's just $50 total out of your budget earmarked for expenditure at locally owned independents.

Why is this important? I mean, why buy your camera and a local store rather than a Target or Wal-Mart? Because each time that $50 gets spent locally, $34 of it goes back into the local community through the form of taxes, payroll, and other business expenditures. That figure compares to barely $20 if you spend your money at a national big-box chain. And if you buy your stuff online, virtually none of your money makes its way back to your home community. So in the end, spending your bucks locally isn't just helping the folks that run that cute cafe or funky shop stay in business - it is helping you out, too, by helping your neighbors get paid, your potholes get filled, and your kids to have better supplies at school.

So check out the 3/50 project's website (click here) and learn a little more. All you gotta do, they say, is pick those three favorite places and drop fifty bucks. Or, I offer instead, look at your budget and think about where you can avoid spending money at a business headquartered out of state and banking offshore and instead drop that cash in the register of someone with your same area code.

The site has a list of a number of participating businesses all over the country, including a handful of CB favorites like Shoparooni and The Waterloo Cafe in Collinwood, and Vidstar Video on Coventry. There are also others mentioned that I've heard good things about, but haven't really patronized, like Loganberry Books in Larchmere and Banyan Tree in Tremont. But those are only suggestions - you know what indie businesses you like and want to stick around, right? Time to put your money (just a little bit of it) where your mouth is, friend.

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