In 2010, we introduced the 3/50 Project, and because we are in the “slower” winter months for most of us, I wanted to take this opportunity to reintroduce it to you all in effort to “renew” our focus on the importance of “Shopping Local”. The 3/50 Project is a nationwide, grass-roots initiative that promotes stronger local economies through support of independent retailers and the consumers who shop with them. The basic principle of The Project is quite simple — pick 3 independent retailers in your community that you don’t want to see disappear, then spend a total of $50 per month among the three. (Just for clarification, that is $50 total, not $50 at each—although of course, you can always feel free to spend more!)
Using this basic concept, here is one way that you can rise to the challenge to spend more locally:
As we have asked before, for 2013, commit to spend $50 of your budget that you might normally spend out of Oswego County, either in and around the malls or on-line, and spend it locally. Simple!
So what sort of impact can that have?
Currently, we have approximately 530 members — if each of us do this just once, that is $26,500 put into our local economy! (This is essentially one full-time job created by simply shifting our spending habits!) Moreover, if we do this monthly, as The 3/50 Project suggests, we could put $318,000 into our local coffers, or potentially create the equivalent of more than 12 full-time jobs, based on the US Census Bureau’s current Oswego County medium income of $25,488!
What can happen if we share this concept with our family and friends, clients and customers? According to the US Census Bureau, Oswego County currently has approximately 46,400 households. If each household just once during the year opted to spend $50 locally that they may have normally spent outside the county, $2,320,000 would be generated!
Now, we all realize that we can not always get everything that we need locally — so let’s consider the following: talk to your local merchants about some of the items that you can only seem to find online or outside the county — they may be able to special order it for you — or if they have enough requests, it may become something they can regularly stock. Also, if you are ordering on-line from a national retailer (after exhausting all local options), if you choose delivery to the local store where possible, most often your sale is credited towards that local store’s sales. While this option may not necessarily generate more payroll hours for the retailer, it at least keeps the revenue local.
In closing, before you run off for an evening of shopping and dining, consider your choices — we have great dining, shopping, and entertainment options right here in our community — and your local purchase could just help create or keep a job that could be your own!
For more information on The 3/50 Project, including free materials and other resources that you can use in your business to help promote the “Shop Local” movement, please see www.the350project.net