Cricket McRaeLast year one of Colorado's premier mystery book stores, High Crimes, closed the doors of their shop in Boulder. Unlike many of the smaller independents that have disappeared, they transferred their business to the Internet. Now High Crimes is an online indie that still specializes in mysteries. They even continue to host the occasional author signing at a local coffee house.
Of course, we all know of independent book stores that are either in danger or have gone out of business. Times are hard and the major chains and Amazon are not only accessible but offer discounts. And book stores aren't the only ones in jeopardy; local businesses of all types face increasing odds as the recession wears away at them and their customers alike.
The 3/50 Project is a nationwide effort to stem the flow of dollars out of our local economies. Now, I'm not a fan of the idea that we need to all run out and spend a bunch of money to stimulate the economy. In fact, I get a bit riled every time I hear it suggested. However, we all need to buy some stuff, don't we? Might as well spend our money at home.
A couple of tidbits from the project's website:
"If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than 42.6 billion in revenue."
"For every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 remains here. Spend it online and nothing comes home."
The project has gone viral, and has been covered in a number of newspapers and blogs. I'm doing it again here because it's important, and it's something we can participate in as individuals. Other organizations that emphasize local buying are the American Independent Business Alliance, Indiebound, and the Business Alliance for Living Local Economies.
Check these folks out -- and spend your money in a way that not only benefits you, but your entire community.