May 25, 2009

Shop Locally

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.


  1. I am a fan of the 3/50 project and try to buy as much as possible from local businesses. I hope that this continues to grow.

  2. I do my best to shop in local shops...I have a fave "go to" place for fun home decor locally owned. Great post Meg.

  3. This is an honorable endeavor. It kills me to see every city...literally looking the same. You know the lineup....Red Lobster-Best Buy-Staples-Applebees-Target all in the same order-all in a row. My hometown is already gone.

  4. great post, meg- let's hear it for the little guys!

  5. Gail, northern CaliforniaMay 25, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    I hope you will continue to drive this point home. Corporate America has all-but abandoned the American worker and consumer. Sadly, it is almost impossible to find anything Made in USA anymore. Sadder still is the fact that many imports are poisoning us or our children.

    I printed the 3/50 Project notice and will use it as an enclosure with a snail-mail letter or card every chance I get.

    Recent example of hometown pride. I dropped a treasured figurine and watched in horror as it broke into several pieces. I knew a shop downtown carried the same line. The shopowner didn't have one in stock but said, I kid you not, "I have one of those at home. You can have mine and I'll order another one for myself." Nuf sed.

  6. just the other day i signed up a 3/50 and posted the logo on my blog - my business would not survive without the small independents - here, here. I buy my books almost exclusively at the fine independent bookstores in our area.

  7. Great idea. A thriving Main St. makes any place a better place to live.

  8. So glad you posted about this. I know you have been in contact with Tracy from Middletown, the work you and the many others like you are doing is so important - thank you!

  9. Thank you for posting.
    I ran a boutique that everyone adored but closed down because of the big box.
    Another excellent point of the big box is quality. Sure you can go to Walmart & get 10 kitchen towels for cheap but they will fall apart so quickly and I believe today we look first at what something costs & not at how long it lasts. Quality lasts.
    Small business yes wants to profit but first & foremost its about a love of something & from that love comes quality products & service for that matter.
    Thank you again.

  10. I completely support these concepts and try as much as possible to follow them in my own town. It's hard though in So California when 20 minutes in any direction is a mall or a restaurant or a boutique in the neighboring cities that has something we don't. We have a charming 100 year old "Main Street" that has really been struggling for much longer than the 15 years I've lived here. Our city officials and historians have worked hard to get businesses and shoppers interested but it's been a tough sell with so much else going on in nearby cities. There has been a lot of progress in just the past few years though so at least it's moving in the right direction now.
    Keep up your good work, Meg!

  11. I am also a supporter of the 3/50 project and am working on a post for this!

  12. Gail, northern CaliforniaMay 28, 2009 at 10:39 PM

    Hi Meg,

    I came back to your site this morning and made more copies of the 3/50 flyer. We have a hifalutin developer doing a razzle-dazzle tap dance to get the locals to approve a ballot measure that would re-zone his property and permit construction of a huge shopping mall without an environmental impact report. I wrote to the County Board of Supervisors and sent each of them a copy of the flyer. Who knows? It might make them stop and think or ask the County planning department to re-think the project. Thanks very much for your post.


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