Buy Local. Help Everybody.

Cooperative – noun – an organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits. Cooperatives are owned and democratically controlled by members (not by investors), return surplus revenue to members, and are motivated by service to their members, not by profit.

This spirit of cooperation, embodied in the credit union movement, can be applied to many different kinds of business enterprises, and will offer even more wide-spread benefits when people learn that there’s much to be gained by supporting one another and that saving a buck today isn’t necessarily the best way to ensure sustainability for your community in the long-term. As this realization dawns on communities across the country, we’re witnessing the resurgence of a “Buy Local” movement that’s gaining strength.

Not long ago, while researching a new project here at MICU, I came across the website for the 3/50 project:They pose this question:

What 3 locally owned, independent businesses would you miss if they weren’t there?

Think about that and then pick 3 locally owned businesses. Stop in, say hello and then buy something. According to the 3/50 Project’s website, if half of the employed population spent $50 a month in locally owned, independent businesses, we’d generate $46.2 billion in revenue. That’s a lot of money, and would go a long way towards returning prosperity to our towns and cities.

Our own McLean County Chamber of Commerce is getting in on the act, too, encouraging everyone to Make Your Money Mean More, and shop at locally owned businesses  right here in McLean County.

Even more actionable, Rely Local offers more information about local businesses, including social media promotions on Twitter and Facebook – and “Cash Mobs” to help local merchants. What’s a Cash Mob? That’s when Rely Local uses social media to invite everyone to come by a locally owned store at a certain time and spend $10.

It’s an incredible community event – and it helps everybody.

Think about it – when was the last time you spent $10?
What did you buy?
Hardly significant, is it?

Unless…you’re running your own shop and 50 or 100 people come in at the same time and they all spend $10. That makes for a good day. Probably for a good week. That might even make your store profitable at the end of the month.

And that’s the point of Rely Local and the other ‘buy local’ organizations that are springing up all over the place.

So whether you like the idea of spending $50 a month at one local retailer or you want to spread the success and ‘Cash Mob’ a bunch of stores $10 at a time, go out of your way to support our local businesses. It’s more than worth it.


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