A Minneapolis woman, Cinda Baxter, has started a national campaign to "Save your local economy three stores at a time." The 3/50 Project works like this:
3: Pick three local retailers that you would hate to see go out of business.
50: Spend $50 at those businesses each month.
Simple! Baxter says that if even half the employed population did this, $42.6 billion dollars in revenue would be directed to locally-owned small businesses.
I first heard about this project from a news story on KARE11 last night, but my husband and I have been thinking along these lines ourselves. A great coffee shop in our neighborhood went out of business a couple months ago, and I feel guilty every time I walk past the empty storefront that I didn't splurge on a coffee or scone more often there, even when I knew they were having a hard time of it. We don't want the same thing to happen to our favorite neighborhood restaurant,and so we go there more often than we would typically allow ourselves. They've been offering a great special and we've been taking them up on it. Eating out as civic duty! Seriously, I think about how much this restaurant has added to our community and grieve at even the thought of its disappearance. Then there's the locally-owned gym above it, and the locally-owned grocery store down the street, and the vet and the ice cream shop and the hardware store and the bookstore and ....