I know that several other bloggers have written about the 3/50 Project, but it has a special meaning to me. I am the President of Pigtown Main Street, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
When "big box" stores such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Best Buy and Staples moved in, small businesses could not compete with their pricing structure and eventually suffered economic decline and closed. I try to support the philosophies of the Main Street and 3/50 programs by featuring small independent stores and businesses on this blog. In fact, one of the very first posts I wrote was about a small yarn shop that had provided the most personalized service - something that I never would have received at a chain store.
Groups like Main Street and the 3/50 Project are working towards revitalizing Main Streets in cities both large and small, and to helping independent stores and businesses survive, especially in our current economic climate.
In the scheme of things, the Main Streets would come first: The underlying premise of the Main Street Approach is to encourage economic development within the context of historic preservation in ways appropriate to today’s marketplace. The Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community.
Once a business has been established, the premise of the 3/50 project would come into effect: If half of the employed population spent $50 each month in locally-owned independent businesses, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue. For every $100 spent in locally-owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $48 stays here. Spend it on-line and nothing returns to your community.
Small locally-owned businesses are in real trouble in this economy, as are many other small businesses, but if we each try and spend $50 in a locally-owned shop each month, we will help save jobs, build communities and neighbourhoods and receive more personalized service.