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.