Another "Buy Local" Business Effort Emerges
All kinds of "buy local" initiatives are bubbling up from the Greensboro grassroots and business community these days. I learned this week that a group of business owners are organizing a local version of the 3/50 Project, which encourages people to spend $50 a month at three or more locally-owned "brick and mortar" businesses in their communities.
Organizers of the "Buy Triad First" project plan to hold its first public organizing meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Proximity Hotel. About 12 business owners currently serve on an advisory committee, said participant Betsy Gauthier, owner of Loco for Coco Gourmet Chocolates. Gauthier is also a member Velocity Trade Exchange, a bartering network I wrote about previously.
Gauthier said she expects at least 100 business owners to attend Monday's meeting. Buy Triad First aims to start out with a Greensboro chapter and expand to High Point and Winston-Salem, she said. I'll follow this to see where it goes.
Update (Sept. 15): The Buy Triad First board of directors has developed its mission statement and created a logo, so expect to start seeing black and white stickers posted on business storefronts. Close to 70 merchants attended the first membership meeting at the Proximity on Monday.
"My feeling is consumers should see the 3/50 Project and Buy Triad First in front of them everywhere they turn," said Dottie Cooke, owner of Jack Cecil boutique.
Cooke serves as the organization's president. The rest of the board includes: Bob Plummer of Fleet Plummer; Erica Worth of Worth Accounting; Betsy Gauthier of Loco for Coco; Maribeth Hudgins of Nails and More Day Spa; Randy McManus of Randy McManus Designs; Martha Nading of The Extra Ingredient; Rick Wall of The Pewter Place; and Garson Rice of Rice Toyota (board member at large). The group is charging a $150 membership fee and will next meet at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Proximity Hotel. The group will soon have a Web site.
The network's goals are to "share ideas and network to promote locally owned brick and mortar retail businesses, to educate consumers on the importance of shopping locally and to encourage investment in our community by keeping our dollars at home."
When I asked Cooke about the purpose of the group, she said that many small business owners felt they were neglected by leaders and organizations that either promote solely downtown businesses at the expense of Battleground Avenue and other areas or limit their advocacy so as to not offend companies with non-local ownership.
"We're not saying don't ever shop at a big box store," Cooke said. "We're just saying think about the locally owned stores and shift some of your money back to us."
Cooke also expressed interest in having the group affiliated with the national Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, whose principles you can find here.
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