The simple formula works like this..
Think of three businesses you'd miss if they went away. Stop in. Say hello. Pick up a little something that makes you smile. That's what keeps them around, after all.
Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy.
Retail consultant and blogger Cinda Baxter put the idea out there last March with a free flyer for businesses to give to customers, and then followed it up with a Web site, www.the350project.net.
In the first seven days, 7,500 people found the site. Now, community groups across the country have joined.
There certainly is something to this concept from a local economic development perspective. The recent study Thinking Outside the Box: A Report on Independent Merchants and the New Orleans Economy indicate that local retailers have a greater impact on regional economies. According to the study, when compared to leading chain competitors on a per square foot basis, local retailers:
- generate twice the annual sales;
- recirculate revenue within the local economy at twice the rate;
- have four times the economic impact in terms of wages, profits, procurement of goods and services and charitable giving.
The study indicated that local merchants on average recirculate money through the local economy at a rate of $188 per square foot compared to $45 per square foot for a typical leading chain retail store.
These results are not an indictment of big box national retail chains and the roll they play in the overall quality of life of regions in providing in-demand nationally branded goods at low prices.
But efforts such as 3/50 show how a focus on local, independent retailers play a vitally important roll in regional economic development and in efforts to promote the unique character of a local retail community.