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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Back in 2010, fifteen business owners and community members gathered at Elm City Restaurant to mark the one-year anniversary of Monadnock Buy Local.  Together we wrote our collective vision for the Monadnock Region’s local economy.  Specifically, we envisioned what our region would look like in 2015.  Well, it’s just about 2015 — the perfect time to revisit our ambitious vision.

Welcome to the Monadnock Region’s Local Economy in 2015:
Walk or bike downtown, whether in Antrim or Windsor, and experience a vibrant & diverse business district with a unique cultural flavor.  Note each town’s gathering point, attracting both visitors and residents.

Stop and ask people how they support their community.  You hear, “One way I support my community is to buy local first – it keeps money circulating in our local economy.”  No longer seen as a fringe movement or just a luxury for some, citizens understand the power of their choices as consumers and investors.

And their support for local runs deep — citizens bank locally, financing their home locally and support local arts and non-profits with their time and dollars.  Some individuals work together to form cooperatives in multiple business sectors and others are developing a local alternative currency called Monadbucks.

Each town has ample access to local food — you find local food in grocery stores, farmers’ markets and CSA (Community Support Agriculture) Farms.

Leaders and public officials understand the importance of their local economy and independent businesses.  They create policies that encourage independent businesses to grow and thrive.  Each town offers support and training for new and existing businesses — increasing the opportunity for people of all ages to start their own business.  Business owners, in turn, understand their role in creating a strong local economy and purchase many of their supplies and services from other local business owners.

Each town in the Monadnock Region understands it is part of something larger — a “glocal” movement — and we are excited to see where our new economy takes us.

So, where in this vision above have we reached fruition and where have we fallen short?

We are seeing more people thinking “local first” – both in our region and nationwide.  According to one study, 79% of Americans planned to shop at local businesses this holiday season.  Each January, the Institute for Local Self Reliance surveys locally owned businesses across the United States to assess sales growth over the previous year.  The results of this study will show if American’s plan to shop local this year translated into real action. Please stay tuned!

In terms of Monadbucks: While there’s interest, there isn’t yet any local currency in circulation in our region.  There is, however, the Monadnock Time Exchange, a cooperative network helping community members match unmet needs with untapped resources. For every hour you do something needed by another member of the time exchange, you “earn” a time credit that you can “spend” to receive a free service offered by another participant in the time exchange.

Access to local food seems to have grown with the addition of the Monadnock Food Co-op, as well as year-round CSAs and expanded farmers’ markets.  We hope that more research will be done to truly measure access to local food in our region and throughout New England.  Until then, we can look to the Strolling of the Heifers’ Locavore Index for insight.  It looks at four measures: the number of farmers’ markets, the number of CSAs, the number of food hubs — on a per-capita basis — along with the percentage active Farm-to-School programs.   According to the index, New Hampshire is ranked #3 – behind Vermont and Maine in terms of local food access.

We still have much work to do to encourage municipalities to adopt pro-local policies and help more businesses buy from other locally owned businesses.   This needs to be a focus over our next five years of work and beyond.

What’s on Monadnock Buy Local’s plate for 2015? We plan to elevate our capacity to accomplish more by hiring staff, increase our membership from 150 to 200 independent businesses and implement an evaluation tool that measures how businesses are supporting a local, green and fair economy — as well as other projects.

While we’re not there yet — in terms of seeing our entire vision for a Monadnock Local Living Economy come to life — we are making progress.  So, perhaps we don’t need to revise the vision above — but simply change the date from 2015 to 2020.

Thank you for supporting Monadnock Buy Local and our local economy these past five years by taking the Shift Your Shopping pledge, participating in Plaid Friday and supporting locally owned businesses.  Here’s to a wonderful 2015!

Plaid Friday Collage

Plaid Friday 2014

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

This Plaid Friday, we can wear our plaid even more proudly — thanks to a new Indie Impact Study highlighting how many dollars Monadnock Region independent retailers recirculate in our local economy.  The study’s results: Locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region return four times more money to our local economy compared to chain retailers.  More specifically, Monadnock Region independent retailers return 62.4% of their revenue to the local economy, while national chain retailers return just 13.6%.

That means that every time you Shift Your Shopping, and spend your dollars at locally owned businesses, you give a boost to our local economy.  The money you spend recirculates through our economy and generates a ripple effect — joining with other local purchases to create new jobs, charitable contributions and more.  If everyone shifted just 10% of purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, we would return $27 million to the regional economy.  Now, that’s all I want for Christmas this year!

Plaid Friday FB BannerOur Indie Impact Study is part of a series of studies carried out by Civic Economics, an organization that measures the boost or “local multiplier effect” locally owned businesses offer communities throughout the United States.  Their studies found that locally owned businesses return 44 to 71 cents of every dollar in revenues back to their local economies compared to their chain competitors.

Armed with this new information, we hope more of you will participate in Plaid Friday on November 28th.  Your plaid will show your support for local and independent businesses and commitment to Shift Your Shopping this holiday season.

“I am a true believer in the power of the ‘buy local’ movement to improve our community and local economy,” stated Marcia Passos Duffy, publisher and editor, Monadnock Small Business Journal. “Plaid Friday is a the only sane response to the craziness that usually goes on during ‘Black Friday.’ Instead of lines, crowds and stress, Plaid Friday is relaxed, fun and folksy … a lot like the plaid that shoppers and store owners wear on that day in support of local businesses.”

On Plaid Friday, we encourage you to visit all our locally owned businesses.  Be sure to visit at least one of our 17 Plaid Friday Hubs — local businesses that will photograph customers decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday and Monadnock Buy Local.  Some Plaid Friday Hubs are offering extra events and specials.  Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene and “CASA 34 Main” in Hancock are even opening up their doors and hosting other independent artists, farmers and food producers during Plaid Friday.

Mayfair Farm will transform into a holiday marketplace on Plaid Friday.  They will sell their own GMO-free pork, beef, lamb, and raw Jersey milk, plus great gift ideas from local artisans.  Even Christmas trees and wreaths will be for sale. While you’re shopping, you can enjoy samples of handcrafted foods and a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate topped with house-made marshmallows.

“CASA 34 Main” will offer a Holiday Gift Barn Sale on Plaid Friday, 4 – 6 p.m., and Small Business Saturday, November 29th, 12 – 7 p.m., next to the Hancock Village Store, across from the Hancock Inn.  Local artisans will join the sale, offering their hand-made gift ideas, food, furniture, textiles, clothing, jewelry, bags and more.

The Monadnock Food Co-op has lots of activities planned for Plaid Friday, including a photo booth with Kimberly Peck Photography, Money Stamping stations, samples from local producers like Walpole Valley Farms and its own Plaid Friday raffle.

Throughout the day, Monadnock Buy Local will raffle off prizes including a “Fun Pac” from Granite Gorge Ski Area including one full day lift ticket and one COSMIC Tubing ticket.  See all the raffle items and how to enter at www.monadnocklocal.org/plaid-friday-raffle.

“Independent businesses are the face and personality of a town,” shared Salina Thomas, owner of Black Squirrel Studio in Jaffrey. “Our supported, independent downtown shops promote the feel of great small towns that boost home values, strengthen community connections and keep our hard earned dollars in our own communities.  Our small towns that we love, and our communities that we have, become our extended family.”

We couldn’t agree more.  Shift Your Shopping to our extended family and shop at locally owned businesses on Plaid Friday and throughout the holiday season.

Local businesses will give a portion of purchases to any school or charity customers choose during “Shop For Good” days this holiday season. Customers trigger the donation by submitting a “Shop For Good” flyer to the cashier or mentioning the promotion in comments when shopping online.

Monadnock Region Shop For Food Businesses:

Inn at Valley Farms
MB Massage Studio
Monadnock Food Co-op

MSNBC Your Business caught Kevin in Kidding Around, a participating NYC toy store.

If you own a business, you can join the campaign instantly, for free, by clicking on the “Count Me In” button. You can even customize your own Kevin Bacon commercial!

Monadnock Buy Local released its Indie Impact Study detailing the amount of revenue returned to the local economy by locally owned, independent businesses in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire. The report found that locally owned retailers return 62.4% of their revenue to the local economy, while national chain retailers return just 13.6% of revenue – meaning that locally owned businesses return over 4x more money into the local economy compared to chain retailers.  The study also concluded that shifting just 10% of purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers would keep $27 million in the regional economy.

“The results of this study will help us better educate our community on the power of spending money at independent businesses,” said Jen Risley, Program Manager of Monadnock Buy Local.  “We now have great numbers relating to how money spent locally recirculates through our economy, creating new jobs, more charitable contributions and a better quality of life for more residents.”

This study is one of a series of Indie Impact Studies carried out by Civic Economics, an organization that measures the “local multiplier effect” in communities throughout the United States.   Their studies found that locally owned businesses return 44 to 71 cents of every dollar in revenues back to their local economies compared to their chain competitors. Read more information about Civic Economics Indie Impact Study Series.

“A community armed with this powerful local data can use it to make better-informed decisions about where they spend their money,” said Jennifer Rockne, Co-Director of the American Independent Business Alliance.  “This goes for citizens as well as local governments and other area institutions. This is important knowledge particularly now, as we enter a season of greater personal spending.  Spending locally is a gift we can give our community.”

Civic Economics provides a data-driven approach to business and community initiatives.  They are noted for the innovative application of industry-standard tools and the development of proprietary methodologies that provide credible guidance and evidence to their clients: www.civiceconomics.com.

Individuals across the Monadnock Region pledge to wear plaid on November 28th to show their support for the local economy.

Monadnock Buy Local’s fifth annual Plaid Friday Event is set for Friday, November 28, 2014.  Individuals are pledging to wear plaid on Plaid Friday to show support for the local economy and their commitment to choosing gifts from locally owned businesses this holiday season. Last year, close to 300 community members committed to participating in Plaid Friday.

Plaid Friday celebrates the diversity and creativity of local and independent businesses. It’s a fun and festive alternative to the “Black Friday” consumer frenzy perpetuated by big box stores. It’s also a great way for the community to show its support for Monadnock Buy Local — a network of locally owned businesses, organizations and individuals working to build a stronger local economy.  This event originated in Oakland, CA with the intent to bring back the times when shopping for friends and family was a pleasurable and leisurely activity.

Fifteen locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs, photographing customers decked out in plaid and answering questions about this event.  This year’s Plaid Friday Hubs include: Black Squirrel Studio in Jaffrey, CASA 34 Main in Hancock, Cheshire Horse in Keene, Hannah Grimes Marketplace in Keene, Howard’s Leather in Spofford, Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, Keene Yoga Center in Keene, Life is Sweet in Keene, Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, One Stop Country Pet Supply in Keene,  Terrapin Glassblowing Studio in Jaffrey, Toadstool Bookshops in Keene and Peterborough, Walpole Mountain View Winery in Walpole and Your Kitchen Store in Keene.

The Monadnock Region’s Plaid Friday event is sponsored by Korvin Appliance, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Monadnock Small Business Journal, Black Squirrel Studio, Country Life Restaurant, Monadnock Food Co-op, MB Massage Studio, Gemini Screenprint, Keene Sentinel, Mia Capelli Salon, W.S. Badger, RaisaAntonia and Ted’s Shoe & Sport.

Event updates can be found at http://monadnocklocal.org/plaidfriday/.

Plaid-Friday-2014

CONGRATS to SUSAN M.!  SHE WON THE SHIFT YOUR SHOPPING SPREE!

New this year:  The Shift Your Shopping Spree!  One lucky winner will receive $500 in gift certificates from their choice of Monadnock Buy Local member businesses.  To enter, submit your receipts for purchases made at locally owned businesses from November 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014 with your name, phone number and email address to the address below. You will receive one entry for each receipt mailed to Monadnock Buy Local and postmarked before January 1, 2015. A winner will be drawn at random on Monday, January 10, 2015.

Shift-Your-Shopping-Spree-PosterThis contest is part of the Shift Your Shopping annual campaign sponsored by Monadnock Buy Local which encourages residents to shop at locally owned businesses during the holidays to grow our local economy and strengthen our community. Need ideas for how to Shift Your Shopping?  Check out Monadnock Buy Local’s Online Member Directory.

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