Have there been local businesses that you visit occasionally and then, one day, you find a need to go there only to find the business is gone? I’ve had that happen a number of times. A yogurt shop, an independent postal annex just around the corner from my house, a take out Chinese restaurant, a small indie food mart just up the street, an indie bookstore, a card shop, a small appliance repair shop, a fabric store…all of these are businesses I have seen disappear. The services they provided helped to enrich the diversity of the local community; a key element in maintaining any ecosystem.
Supporting these small, unique businesses requires a bit of attention on all our parts. Consider them as plants in a wildflower or vegetable garden. The scrappy ones might hang on, but with a little TLC, the plants we want to do well, will flourish.
So, what can be done? How can we as individuals make a difference? Recently, reading a blog post on zebrasounds I learned about a great program called the 3/50 project. For more details, please click on the links, but in summary, the 3/50 project asks you to pick your favorite 3 local businesses you would miss if they disappeared and commit to stopping in, saying hello and spending at least $50 per month (Total, not each) at the three businesses. That’s it!
Great idea, huh? It’s a combination of capitalism and sustainability. You put your money where it matters. According to 3/50, if just 1/2 the employed population spent $50/month locally, over $46B in revenue would feed local communities, and more of the local spending stays local.
So read up, join up and spread the word. It’s the little things done by many that can make a tremendous difference.