Support local businesses |

Support local businesses

Dear Editor:

Which three local businesses would you miss if they closed their doors? Perhaps it’s your favorite local outfitter who sold you the gear you took on the trip that you’ll never forget. Or the coffee shop or restaurant where the server knows your order by heart. Maybe it’s the store where you were able to find that special gift your friend can’t stop thanking you for. It’s easy to identify your top three local spots or maybe even your favorite dozen. The 3/50 Project is all about saving these local businesses that bring quality to our lives and communities.

With a tag line “Save your local economy three stores at a time,” the 3/50 Project’s goal is to promote spending in locally-owned businesses while thanking customers for the positive impact that their purchasing decisions have on their local economy. The formula is simple: Pick three. Buy $50. Save your local economy.

The project was founded in 2009 by Cinda Baxter, a Minneapolis-based retail consultant, who was fed up with how the media was frightening consumers at the expense of local businesses. In response she wrote a blog post intended to inform consumers and contradict the media’s response to the downturn. That post was the start of what would soon become an international movement to support locally owned businesses. Baxter’s idea was simple: If half of the employed U.S. population chose three locally-owned, independent businesses that they would hate to lose, and then spent a combined total of $50 a month with them, it would have a major impact – generating an estimated $42.6 billion of revenue annually. Soon after Baxter’s blog post, she created to give consumers and businesses alike tools to improve their communities through a buy-local initiative.

Buying locally doesn’t only benefit local business owners; it benefits the entire community through payroll, taxes, and other expenditures. A statistic often highlighted on 3/50 Project online and print materials reads that for every $100 spent in locally owned businesses, $68 remains in the local economy. In contrast, only $43 of every $100 remains local when spent in national chains, and little or no local revenue results from online purchases. It was this statistic that spoke volumes to a group of participants in the 2011 Roaring Fork Leadership class. This group of locals is distributing the 3/50 Project’s message throughout the valley with the help of local chambers of commerce, newspapers, radio stations, television stations and local businesses. The group is also printing bookmarks and posters with the 3/50 message that will available to local businesses to distribute and display.

One can get involved with the 3/50 Project by registering their business and becoming a member or supporter at, “liking” the 3/50 Project on Facebook, distributing 3/50 print materials available at their local chamber of commerce, and sharing the message with friends and family.

By promoting awareness about the benefits of supporting our local businesses, we can make a positive impact on the sustainability and success of our communities. You are invited to be a proactive part of this process.

Roaring Fork Leadership Program, Class of 2011

Civil Project Team, 3/50

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