"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Monday, August 3, 2009

The 3/50 Project

I work in advertising sales, and every day as I drive around in my territory, I see more and more businesses that have closed their doors due to the economy right now. Not only are some of these businesses my clients, but they are unique boutiques and stores that I love as a customer.

Everyone is feeling the pinch right now--all types of businesses-- including larger chains. But the small brick and mortar businesses are feeling it more than others. What I see when I go into these stores is not just products or price tags, but someone's dream or passion. Meeting these store owners is inspiring, and right now heartbreaking, as they try everything to simply keep their doors open.

I found out about The 3/50 Project about a month ago, and passed on the information as quickly as I could to everyone I know. Not only is this a great idea, it seems to be working. The basic premise is this: Look around your community and pick three brick and mortar businesses that you love and frequent, that you would miss if they weren't around. Make a point of going to those businesses and spending $50 in each one. It is a simple plan to help these businesses survive, but it also means helping to secure the patchwork of diverse businesses in our communities.

Even if you can't spend $50, spend $5.00. Every little bit helps. And if you can't spend $5.00, just pass the word along. When this recession turns around, and it will, we don't want to be left with only national chains standing.

I am guilty of spending a lot of my shopping dollars online, mainly for convenience. But knowing about The 3/50 Project has helped me remind myself when I start an online search, that I need to head out the door to the little stores I love instead to find what I need. Getting to know these store owners has made that an easy choice. I want these businesses to survive, and it has nothing to do with my advertising sales quotas.
What I also love about this idea is that it brings around the concept that each of us--even one person--can make a difference. And lately, it's hard to remember that as big issues loom around us from every direction. It's easy to sit back and feel overwhelmed or to complain about the economy. It all feels too huge to even know where to start. The 3/50 Project narrows down the journey of a thousand miles by showing us that first step to take. We can impact what's happening around us in so many ways, and this is just one great example.

Check out the 3/50 Project website here.


Uncle Al August 4, 2009 at 2:08 AM  

Pity the shoppe that had to close.

Pseudonymph August 4, 2009 at 3:22 AM  

If I can add to that, as well, as a small business owner, I try and implement a support the others philosophy, I buy my bread from the local bakery, fruit from the greengrocer, but in turn, they buy their ibuprofen, baby formula etc from my pharmacy. We bypass the supermarket for things each other sells, however, it's a necessary evil for some things...

Rhythm August 4, 2009 at 7:13 AM  

gr8 post....... the 3/50 really workd

knitwit August 4, 2009 at 8:43 AM  

I live just outside of a very small town. We have a tiny grocery store, a small pharmacy, a bakery and a thrift store that survives on donations. I've started only making the trek into the big city once a month, if that, when I need things I just can't find in town. It turns out that when I only shop locally, though things may cost a little more, I spend less because I don't see the shelves and shelves of junk I never knew I needed, as I do at the big chains, and I just buy what I went for in the first place. This project is a great idea!

Ramona DeVries August 4, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

Yes, that would be a great thing to do!!! We could help this country by helping the econnomy. The thing is, if you are working in one of those companies that not many people are attached to, your company is anyway going down, that means that it would be harder for you to support other bussinesses...the thing is, as much as I agree and see it helpfull, people are looking more at a $5 bill now then they did before.
I also have a similar story like knitwit, and I know how much the local stores mean to me and my family.

Dimple August 4, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

This is a good idea. I'm passing the word, although $5 will be more my style!

Joanna August 4, 2009 at 10:14 AM  

I love this idea. Thanks for sharing it. Just discovered your blog and I enjoy your writing very much.

Judi August 4, 2009 at 10:21 AM  

Great post, great idea. I'll help spread the word.

Anonymous,  August 4, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

I saw this on your twitter, and I must say I can not agree more, I'm planning on giving them an icon on my blog!

The Chapstick Pezbian August 4, 2009 at 10:51 AM  

I'm a college student, so $50 at my 3 favorite stores is out of the question right now. I'll definitely be re-blogging this at some point & posting it on a few sites though!
Thanks for the info!!!

-The Chapstick Pezbian

John August 4, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

This is a good idea, and one I try to use regularly. There are lots of smaller vendors in town, and when possible I try to keep my business with them. I think we all lose if they go away.

Noelle August 4, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

I agree and try to do the same for food. When produce is in season in my area, I make an effort to buy from local farmers.

jewpublic club August 4, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

Most of these big chain stores are the ones that are causing our job markets to shrink anyways, they import most of the slave or sweat shop tailored goods, from abroad, while our workers are losing their jobs over it.

Anonymous,  August 4, 2009 at 4:24 PM  

Spending more locally is great, but independent business owners need to organize to compete better.

This non-profit has great tools for business owners to start community coalitions: http://amiba.net

lola August 4, 2009 at 5:18 PM  

That's awesome that you quoted Lou Reed! I love Lou Reed. And I will definitely be participating in the 3/50 Project. I go to all kinds of little shops that don't belong to chains. They have unique things, unlike Wal-Mart and other chain-stores. If you like you can check out my blogs

lola August 4, 2009 at 6:55 PM  

I just created another blog you might like. It's
I am spending a lot of time writing essays this week to publish on the web. Most are about gay rights, music and bios.

gooddell August 5, 2009 at 12:31 AM  

great post

nikgee August 5, 2009 at 3:04 AM  

I really like the idea. It's positive and a good place to start. The more3 I think about it ... It makes good sense. Small business is where it's at. When a company begins to grow and takes more and more not giving anything back, that to me spells trouble....

You know I was starting to think ill of the capitalistic approach was the problem. Then I realized there isn't anything wrong with success and making money but, not the little but , the big BUT..BUT with that wealth and /or power comes a great responsibility, with giving at the center of it. thanks nick

Anonymous,  August 5, 2009 at 4:29 AM  

Great post... I own one of those little businesses, we opened just six months ago in this crazy economic climate.. with a dream. Hopefully we can keep it alive. Thank you, well said.

CarinLive August 5, 2009 at 8:43 AM  

Intresting.... btw, nice pic behind the head font.... *C.

Romance Parties By Danielle August 5, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

Great post! Keep em' coming!

Danielle Cotton

Anonymous,  August 5, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

A bag of peaches $12 at our local Farmers Market. I passed on and will keep avoiding these prices - for now, although I am a believer in green living and small businesses. Your blog is delightful, I am glad I discovered it, om.

Entrepreneur Chick August 5, 2009 at 4:54 PM  

What the 3/50 plan does is create cash flow, which businesses and the country needs, like blood in veins, to survive! Great idea. One of the four companies I own is pitched to businesses struggling to survive, and we are booked out the whaazoo. We are solving their problems by getting people in their door, which in turn, gets them paid, which in turn, gets me paid.
One of our biggest accounts, however, is a national chain.

topmomblog August 5, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

Absolutely right. Although I live in southern California I come from a small town and have always believed in supporting local businesses. I too have gotten into the habit of ordering online for sheer ease of it - you don't have to battle traffic and try to find a parking space! But there are definitely small businesses that I will continue to patronize - they have more unique stuff! And I'll pass the word on.

Juan Pablo August 6, 2009 at 12:38 AM  

Congrats on your blog of note! :D

I love your blog, and the Yes We Did sign you have!! I often feel like the only Obama supporter in Oklahoma... oh well LOL

I would love it if you stopped by my blog as well if you get the chance!


You have an inspirational blog :)

Juan Pablo August 6, 2009 at 12:40 AM  

Oh, and Sedaris is my favorite writer! Me Talk Pretty One Day is brilliant :)

Simey August 6, 2009 at 8:26 AM  

Weel done for making the Blog of Note! Not sure if I would have found your blog otherwise!

Candle August 6, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

I do not know why you don't support Obama's health care plan. You do not like him because of his race? When I see him, I see a powerful man, very close to the natural world and authentic, I do not know what you see, but it must not be very much. What is wrong with the world...

RMBPcola August 6, 2009 at 10:42 AM  

This is a very thoughtful suggestion and I appreciate it being made.

Let me make the following observation. Perhaps the $50 could easily be $100 if we were not taxed to death. I recently received a bonus from my practice. It was taxed at nearly 40%. I honestly thought - why bother working as I hard as I did if I am going to pay such a large portion in taxes? That 40% was not circulated back into the economy, invested, saved, etc. Instead it went to a Federal government which consistently shows that it does not know how to manage money. Any yet, the citizenry continues to allow its government to throw borrowed money at problems, expand, and encroach on individual liberties and problems alike. The problem is not internet commerce, health care, or Social Security. It is a government that has gotten out of control and a population that has come to worship its government.

~Sweet Mapley Jane~ August 6, 2009 at 3:52 PM  

this is the direction that all things need to take... people need to start looking at the bigger picture... there are so many benefits to buying local goods and supporting the mom and pop shops of our neighbourhoods!
Speaking of which... we need to start being "neighbours" to eachother... to connect with the people around us... the 3/50 is a fantastic concept :) perhaps it will help more than just the economy?

I love the lou reed quote and i love the post! KUDOS for making the blog of note and for spreading something positive!

Yes, that did happen. August 6, 2009 at 10:44 PM  

I love the idea. We don't realize how every little bit counts. If we all contribute as much as we can, we can keep doors open for all of the amazing stores the world embraces! I will definitely spread the word around.

Keep up the amazing blog.

- - -


gizmo0277 August 7, 2009 at 2:17 AM  

This is a great idea. I will pass the word. People seem to forget this also impacts our Familly and Freinds. This does not only help the stores but those who work for them or supply them.

M.J.Y August 7, 2009 at 4:25 PM  

I came across your blog through it being a blog of note, and have read through a few (including the B.G.T one on Susan Boyle - I cannot begin to explain the media circus around her here in the UK).
It's a great blog you have going on here, I shall pop back from time to time.

Please feel free to give me some feedback on mine.

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com August 7, 2009 at 5:12 PM  

Thanks for making people aware of this. I will pass the word along. G

A. Truscott August 8, 2009 at 5:25 PM  

It's so sad when little shops close... I hope lots of people commit to doing this.

Fisher King August 8, 2009 at 8:23 PM  

Sounds like a pyramid scheme.

Crazy Ruffit August 8, 2009 at 9:45 PM  

I like the sound of that! I do already try to support local business over multi-nationals but the push to get more people to do the same is a good thing :-)

timestandsstill August 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM  

i love how there is so much truth in your words. i feel very much at home.

Tech Maiden August 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

it's great to be able to help. it's a good thing somebody was able to come up with that idea. I do hope it's going to work more than what has been expected out from it.

California Girl August 9, 2009 at 8:27 PM  

it's true, the small businesses are dying no thanks to big box stores, the economy and general malaise towards anything that doesn't seem familiar when people go on vaca. I say this because I now live in a resort area where 80% of our dollars come from out of the area and 50% from out of state. It's so sad.

dL August 9, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

this is a great idea! I'm from the Philippines and developing countries like ours should do something like this. Hope you don't mind if I mention your post. Thanks.

Anonymous,  August 10, 2009 at 2:13 AM  

gibblerish muntoppery...

Anonymous,  August 10, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

Love the blog! Keep it up!

Free Magz

college girl August 10, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

This is a great idea. I have never heard of this project, but I plan on spreading the word. I love projects that remind use that the average person can make a difference. Also, I am a strong believer in supporting local businesses. Growing up in a small town, I know that life would different and less inspiring if there were no unique businesses.

Stina Sardinha Wulfe August 10, 2009 at 8:33 PM  

That's a great idea.. Thanks for sharing. As a member of a small town filled with local businesses (and being self employed) The economy is terrifying for many of us! My entire town is ALL small shops and stores.. many have closed down... It can really kill an entire city/town if the stores all close. The housing value drops, the jobs get lost for the young people and they have to go elsewhere... It can really suck a town dry.

Stina Sardinha Wulfe August 10, 2009 at 8:36 PM  

Also.. In reply to the anonymous post above- he/she said local businesses need to organize better to compete with large chains.
So should we all get together and order our products from children in 3rd world countries? Or china? I'm not really sure that's totally the point. Giving money to local shops is supposed to also keep our money in America.. which will help the economy.

Peggy Jo August 11, 2009 at 4:28 PM  

Thank you for sharing your story Kim. I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for all the information you share. It is appreciated. Blessings. PJ

Cheri Pryor August 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM  

Very cool idea!! I'm hoping my little brick and mortar scrapping store can just keep hanging in there! I need to go visit them this month....

Wendy August 16, 2009 at 3:58 PM  

Thanks for passing this on. Awesome project!

Tufa Girl August 17, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

What a great concept! People can get into this math. In Austin, Texas the buy local campaign is called "Keep Austin Weird". It works.

Anonymous,  August 18, 2009 at 6:50 AM  

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



O. Joy August 26, 2009 at 4:42 PM  

This is AWESOME! I feel compelled to do a post as well - as a lover of independent buisinesses & as an owner/photographer with my home based business.

Thank you!


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