According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that with a national chain, only $43 stays at home. Spend it online and nothing stays in the community.

So, shopping locally is one of the best means available to support an economy based on small businesses rather than large corporations, to maintain regional diversity, to help sustain local public schools, to increase community job creation, and to maintain the availability of a wide range of products, good, services, media and food based, not on a national sales plan, but on the interests, needs and peculiarities of local communities as determined by community members themselves. This blog post by Rieva Lesonsky, Consulting Editor at BizWomen.com, explains well why it’s so important to support local businesses.

The 3/50 Project is trying to make it easy to drop your dollars in ways that maximize the benefit to small brick and mortar institutions. The goal is simple: Ask consumers to frequent three local brick and mortar businesses they don’t want to see disappear, and to spend $50 per month at each establishment.

As Cinda Baxter, founder of the project, blogged in March, “It’s about funneling revenue back into local business. You know—the folks that pour money back into the community via commercial property taxes, payroll taxes, sales tax, and salaries (not to mention all that good will by way of volunteer time, silent auctions, sponsored softball teams, workshops, book signings, etc.).”

This short newscast from a local ABC affiliate noted the potential impact of local shopping in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A nice article by Raymund Flandez at WSJ.com detailed the success of the project in assisting many small business owners like a group of 19 independent businesses in Skippack, Pa. which each put in $10 to print 2,000 postcards that advertised to local customers that if they spent $150 total at any of the participating businesses, they’d get 10 percent off meals in local restaurants. More than 50 people have taken up the offer, handing in their postcards with stapled receipts to get a discounted dinner and many more are expected in the coming weeks. The blossoming of many small efforts like this coast to coast can literally mean survival for many longtime family businesses.

The project’s website offers a range of opportunities for getting involved and, if you run an independent business, for receiving assistance. It’s also very easy to spread the word about the campaign with free downloads and other tools.


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