Archive for the ‘Buying Local Adventures’ Category

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

With the holiday season fast approaching, life is about to get busier and busier for you and your family — maybe even frantic. Monadnock Buy Local extends, to you, an antidote to the mainstream consumer frenzy that descends upon us all each November. We offer you opportunities to have fun, reconnect with neighbors and shop with your values in mind.

Plaid Friday SYS flyerWe share these offerings from November 1st to December 31st through our Shift Your Shopping Campaign, a national movement that empowers each of us to support job creation and economic growth through our holiday shopping. Every time you Shift Your Shopping and spend your dollars at locally owned businesses, you boost our local economy.  The money you spend recirculates through our economy and generates ripple effects that join with others to create new jobs, charitable contributions and more. That ripple effect is four times stronger when you spend your money at locally owned businesses instead of chain stores.

“When you spend money locally during the holidays, you are investing in the economic well-being of your community, your neighbors and your family,” said Michelle Long, Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

All the events and opportunities below reinforce our Shift Your Shopping message. We encourage you to participate in the ones that inspire you the most.

Take the Shift Your Shopping Pledge

Make your commitment to Shift Your Shopping known to all — take the Shift Your Shopping Pledge on our website: http://monadnocklocal.org/pledge.

One sample pledge from last year reads: Rebecca P. of Keene pledges to shift 80% of her holiday shopping to locally owned & independent businesses like the Monadnock Food Co-op, Ted’s Shoe & Sport, Creative Encounters, Your Kitchen Store, Hannah Grimes Marketplace and the Knitting Knook.

Make your own Shift Your Shopping pledge today – and pass on your favorite local places to shop!

Plaid Friday

The Friday after Thanksgiving means Black Friday to most — but to Monadnock Buy Local, locally owned businesses and many community members, November 27th is PLAID FRIDAY!

Wear plaid on Friday, November 27th to show your support for our local economy and commitment to choosing gifts (and gift-making supplies!) from locally owned businesses this holiday season.  The plaid serves as a reminder that we’re not merely consumers in our economy, but also producers — creating a stronger local economy together through the purchases we make.


Some Monadnock Buy Local members are serving as Plaid Friday Hubs.  Hubs will photograph customers decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday and Monadnock Buy Local. We will share this year’s Plaid Friday Hubs at monadnocklocal.org/plaid-friday-hubs.

Kimberly Peck Photography will set up a Plaid Friday Photo Booth in front of the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough. In addition to wearing plaid in your photo, we encourage you to show off your shopping bags from all the locally owned businesses that you’ve visited this holiday season. Photographs will be available for purchase through Kimberly Peck Photography via kimberlypeckphotography.com or kpeckphoto@comcast.net. Monadnock Buy Local will add all the photos taken to our annual collage, celebrating all who wore plaid.

Plaid Friday Collage

Thank you to this year’s Plaid Friday sponsors: Brown Computers, Cheshire Horse, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Howard’s Leather, Jeni’s Skin Care, Joseph’s Coat, Keene Door, Keene Sentinel, Korvin Appliance, MB Massage Studio, Monadnock Food Co-op, Monadnock United Way, New England Everyday Goods, Of Moose and Mountain, One Stop Country Pet Supply, Paragon Digital Marketing, Small Business Journal, Ted’s Shoe & Sports and W. S. Badger. With their extra support, we’ll be able to spread the word about the power of Plaid Friday to more and more people.   Stay updated on all the Plaid Friday happenings at: monadnocklocal.org/plaidfriday.

Shift Your Shopping Spree

Your next opportunity is the Shift Your Shopping Spree where one lucky winner will receive $500 in gift certificates from their choice of Monadnock Buy Local member businesses.

To enter, first register to participate at http://monadnocklocal.org/shift-your-shopping-spree. Then, submit your receipts for purchases made at locally owned businesses from November 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015 to us at MBL, 25 Roxbury St. #209, Keene NH 03431. You will receive one entry for each receipt you submit before January 1, 2016. A winner will be drawn at random on Monday, January 11, 2016.

We use this contest as a way to track our collective impact. Last year, we received 1,031 receipts from 353 individuals totaling $45,000 spent at locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region! We can’t wait to tally this year’s response.


Cider Monday

That’s not a typo! Instead of Cyber Monday, a day when online merchant offer special deals, we invite you to a new tradition, CIDER MONDAY. On November 30th, stop in for a free cup of cider from participating Cider Monday businesses.

mulled-cider_194Willard Williams of the Toadstool Bookshops in Keene, Peterborough and Milford dreamed up Cider Monday as an antidote to Cyber Monday. He shared, “Stop in for a free cup, maybe a snack, see some real people and have a good time checking out what’s in our stores. It’s sure to be a heartwarming experience. We can promise no crashing websites, our ‘servers’ won’t be overloaded and we bet they will even smile at you!”

Learn more about Cider Monday at monadnocklocal.org/cidermonday. For even more opportunities to Shift Your Shopping, visit monadnocklocal.org/shiftyourshopping.

Please help spread the word to your neighbors, friends and family — invite them to shift their shopping habits and give a true holiday gift to our entire community, one that will keep on giving throughout the New Year. Together, we can strengthen our local economy, expand employment and nurture community through our holiday purchasing choices (while having fun to boot!).

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From the Westmoreland Lions Club

The Westmoreland Lions Club is bringing back “Home for the Holidays,” the local holiday shopping event started by Missy Blanchard in 2013. This will be a one day event offering holiday gifts, decorations, food items, and gift certificates from Westmoreland and area businesses, farms, and groups. We participated in the 2013 event and look forward to hosting the event this year and, hopefully, for many years to come.

This event is intended to help Westmorelanders remember to think locally for our purchasing and service needs. We will work hard to make everyone aware of this year’s event to give local folks the opportunity to buy local from YOU this season.

View event details and an application.


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Wyman Tavern Brewfest
Saturday, August 8, 1 – 5 pm
Fundraiser for the Historical Society of Cheshire County

History meets craft brewing on August 8th at the Wyman Tavern Brew Fest. The event will feature fifteen brewers from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. It will take place on the grounds of the historic Wyman Tavern Museum on Main Street in Keene.

Brew Fest logo 636 copyThe names of many of the beers bring to mind the region’s cultural heritage. Alsteadder Ale comes from the Belgian Mare Brewery in Alstead, NH. Mountain View Brew comes from Mooselick Brewing Company in Troy, NH. Whipple’s Wheat by Henniker Brewing Company is named after a New Hampshire signer of the Declaration of Independence and Samuel Adams is named after a Founding Father from Massachusetts. 4,000 Footer IPA from Woodstock Inn Brewery, East Intervale IPA from Moat Mountain Brewery, and Waterville Wheat from 603 Brewery all celebrate New Hampshire locales.

Proceeds from the Wyman Tavern Brew Fest will benefit the Historical Society of Cheshire County, an organization which has been collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of the Monadnock region since 1927. The Historical Society puts on about 140 programs per year such as exhibits, living history festivals, summer camps, teacher workshops, school visits, films, lectures, and field trips. The most important artifact of the Historical Society is the Wyman Tavern, built in 1762, which the Society operates as a period house museum.

Alan Rumrill, the director of the Historical Society of Cheshire County, said, “A Brew Fest seems like a good fit for the Historical Society of Cheshire County. Beer and ales surely flowed in the Wyman Tavern’s Tap Room in the 1700’s, and today’s craft brewers are reviving the old ways of brewing.”

Belgian-Mare-BreweryTim Roettiger is one of the brewers who will be sampling his ales at the Wyman Tavern Brew Fest. His brewery is named after the Belgian mare that can be seen outside his home in Alstead, New Hampshire. The basis for the design of Roettiger’s brewery is a gravity-fed process that goes back to Medieval tower breweries. Roettiger said, “Belgian Mare is a very traditional bottle-conditioned beer, which is new to most people. Bottle conditioning involves less control and more art. The last fermentation happens inside the bottle, which provides carbonation and the last bit of flavor.”

11017019_1085821491444011_9008220613994159522_nDavid Morse will be representing one of the region’s newest brewing companies — Mooselick Brewing from Troy, New Hampshire. Morse brews traditional styles of beer such as mild ales and hoppy beers as well as beers with local fruit added. The fruit is fermented to dryness with a tart flavor and a little sweetness. Morse recalled how Mooselick got its start, “My wife Donna and I ran into the owners of Monadnock Berries, Anthony and Fenella Levick, at a microbrewery in Naples Florida. The idea of brewing beer using fresh farm fruit was hatched serendipitously 1,600 miles away from New Hampshire.”

The Wyman Tavern Brew Fest will get underway at 1 pm on August 8th and visitors will be able to sample the brews until 5 pm. Tickets are available at BrewTopia on Washington Street in Keene, at the Historical Society of Cheshire County (246 Main Street in Keene, phone 603-352-1895), and online at EventBrite.com. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the festival, and they include a souvenir beer glass. Designated drivers will be admitted at no charge. Free rides will be provided by Ideal Rides and Adventure Transportation.

Wyman Tavern Brew Fest Brewers:

  • 603 Brewery (Londonderry, NH)
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider (Boston, MA)
  • Belgian Mare Brewery (East Alstead, NH)
  • Champlain Orchards (Shoreham, VT)
  • Great North Aleworks (Manchester, NH)
  • Great Rhythm Brewing Company (Portsmouth, NH)
  • Henniker Brewing Company (Henniker, NH)
  • Moat Mountain Brewing (North Conway, NH)
  • Mooselick Brewing Company (Troy, NH)
  • Samuel Adams (Boston, MA)
  • Shipyard Brewing (Portland, ME)
  • Throwback Brewery (North Hampton, NH)
  • Traveler Beer Company (Burlington, VT)
  • Tuckerman Brewing Company (Conway, NH)
  • Von Trapp Brewing (Stowe, VT)
  • Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery (North Woodstock, NH)

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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Indie ChallengeAre you ready (insert echo here: ready, ready, ready) for the Indie Challenge (challenge, challenge, challenge)?  Forty-five of your friends, family and neighbors have enthusiastically answered YES!  We invite you to join them.

What’s the Indie Challenge?  It’s a challenge to fulfill all of your needs at locally owned and independent businesses during Independents Week, July 1–7, 2015.  Sign on to the Indie Challenge today.

“I salute our community members and locally owned independent businesses who are integral to the unique flavor of Keene and honor their efforts to make Keene the place we want to live and work,” stated Keene Mayor Kendall Lane in this year’s Independents Week Proclamation.  “As we celebrate Independents Week 2015, we acknowledge that the ability to choose the direction of Keene lies within each of us.”

While Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom, Independents Week is a time to reflect on our interdependence: how locally owned businesses contribute to a healthy community and local economy and how each of us contributes to the success of these businesses.

In addition to taking the Indie Challenge, celebrate Independents Week by participating in a myriad of events offered by locally owned businesses throughout the Monadnock Region:

Start the week out with some homegrown music at Fitzwilliam Inn’s Open Mic on Wednesday, July 1 from 7pm to 9pm.

Celebrate with a laugh or two (or more) at Walpole Valley Farms as they show the movie “The Goonies” in their barn on Thursday, July 2.  The farm’s grassfed burgers and hotdogs will be available for sale, and popcorn too. The movie starts at 7pm and food is available starting at 6pm. Bring your own beach chairs, blankets and beverages.

Go back in time on Thursday, July 2 or Friday, July 3 between the hours of 11am and 4pm.  Take a guided tour of the historic Wyman Tavern Museum and learn what it was like to run a family business in late 18th-early 19th century Keene.  Cost: $3.

There’s a Local Food BBQ at Monadnock Food Co-op on July 3 from 5pm–7pm.   The menu features Italian Sausage (with locally raised pork from John Davis in Surry), house made Beet and Black Bean Burgers, Orchard Hill Breadworks Bread, Salad Greens (from True Nature Garden in Keene), Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto (from Old Athens Farm in Putney,VT) and Pea Salad (from Generation Farm in Concord).  The cost is $9 per plate and there will be live music too.

Friday, July 3 brings fireworks to Rindge and Keene. The Rindge Chamber of Commerce hosts their annual Family Festival and Fireworks at the common starting at 5pm with fireworks at 9pm.  Enjoy rock and roll, soul, swing and Cajun music with Tattoo.

The Keene Swamp Bats will offer fireworks at their game against the Sanford Mainers at Alumni Field in Keene. The game starts at 6:30pm with fireworks show to follow.

Race to the finish line on Saturday, July 4 at the “4 on the 4th” Road Race in Keene while supporting a great non-profit, Pathways for Keene — promoting the development, maintenance and use of alternative transportation in our city.

After the race, stroll over to the Farmers’ Market of Keene from 9am–1pm on Gilbo Avenue.  Browse the bounty of locally grown produce and locally made products from local farmers and artisans — and cool down with one of my favorites, a Patti Jazzy Popsicle from Cheshire Garden.

From the Farmers’ Market, head over to the 15th Annual Harrisville Old Home Days and Arts and Crafts Fair, 10am–3pm.  The day includes children’s games and crafts, live music, food vendors, Harrisville mill architecture tours and over 30 local artisans offering photography, jewelry, blown glass, wood products, homemade jams, local syrup, knitted items and more.  Call 603-827-3094 for more information.

On Sunday, July 5, enjoy music from the Westmoreland Town Band 6:30pm–8:30pm at the Town Green Gazebo in Walpole, sponsored by the Savings Bank of Walpole. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. For more information, call 603-355-1602.

Mondays mean contra dancing!  On July 6, join the Monadnock Folklore Society for their Monday Night Contra Dance 8pm–10:30pm at Nelson Town Hall.  New to contra dancing?  That’s okay!  Just let the caller know. Cost: $3.

Finish Independents Week at Orchard Hill Breadworks Pizza Night in Alstead on Tuesday July 7 from 5pm–7:30pm.  You bring your own pizza toppings, drinks, picnic blanket, dinnerware and $7 per crust. Orchard Hill Breadworks provides the pizza crusts, cheese, and sauce and will cook your pizza in their new outdoor oven.  All profits for this night’s Pizza Night go to Animaterra Women’s Chorus.

Traveling during Independents Week?  Enjoy what locally owned businesses have to offer wherever you are.  Ask locals who their favorites are and look for networks like Monadnock Buy Local in the areas you’re visiting at amiba.net/about_ibas/find-iba and bealocalist.org/localist-champions.

As you take the Indie Challenge, we’d love to hear how the challenge is going for you. Email us at monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.  If you get stumped, use our 2,857 Facebook Fans (and your friends and neighbors) to help you brainstorm possibilities.  Another great resource for finding independent businesses is our online directory, listing 310 locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region.  You can search by business type, town or keywords to find what you’re looking for.

Choose the direction of the Monadnock Region, take the Indie Challenge, celebrate Independents Week and shift your spending to locally owned businesses everyday.

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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

One hundred fifty four locally owned businesses fuel Monadnock Buy Local’s efforts. These businesses help spark a movement — one that calls upon each of us to “think local first” and choose to shift more of our spending from national chain stores to locally owned businesses. Together, we’re building a stronger community.

I love how the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies puts it, “[This movement] is about building communities that are more healthy and sustainable — backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient. It means we use regional resources to meet our needs — reconnecting eaters with farmers, investors with entrepreneurs, and business owners with the communities and natural places on which they depend. It recognizes that not one of us can do it alone and that we’re all better off, when we’re all better off.”

This year, we plan to better promote the impacts of supporting locally owned businesses. Our main mantra comes from a Civic Economics report that found that locally owned businesses in our region return 4x more money to our local economy compared to chain retailers. The study also concluded that shifting just 10% of our purchases from national chains to locally owned retail businesses would keep $27 million in the regional economy — recirculating through the Monadnock Region to create new jobs, more charitable contributions and a better quality of life for more residents.

Monadnock Final Indie Impact Study_Page_4

We also want to inspire more of you to think local first — and buy local, bank local, eat local, drink local and BE LOCAL! And we want to make it easier for you to find what you need at locally owned businesses. In turn, we want to encourage our 150 business members to adopt innovations that forward a local, green and fair economy.

Ideally, we hope to reframe what “value” means to us all — in terms of buying the goods and services we want and need. As the American Independent Business Alliance points out, “Of course, we usually choose to do business where we perceive the best value for our time and money. But in an age where we’re bombarded with thousands of corporate advertisements daily, perceptions may differ widely from reality. The unrelenting emphasis on cheapness above all other values, leads many people to overlook the values independent businesses provide us, both personally and in our communities.”

Thank you to our 154 members: retailers, service providers, chefs, farmers, artists, nonprofit leaders, friends and neighbors. Of those members, 22 have been members for all six years of Monadnock Buy Local’s existence: Cheshire Garden, Deep Roots Massage, Elm City Restaurant & Brewery, Hannah Grimes Center, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Howard’s Leather, Jack Daniels Motor Inn, Keene Fresh Salad, The Keene Sentinel, Keene Sign Worx, Life is Sweet, Monadnock Shopper News, Monadnock Table Magazine, Northfield Drive-In, Peterborough Camera Shop, Picadilly Farm, Prime Roast Coffee, Savings Bank of Walpole, Ted’s Shoe & Sport, Toadstool Bookshops, Walpole Mountain View Winery and WiValley. A very big thank you to these businesses for their commitment to our mission.

We expect to release our 2015-2016 Monadnock Buy Local Guide, listing all of our members and more inspiration for thinking local first, by late July. Until then, we invite you to explore who our members are at http://monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Members.

And thank all of you for supporting locally owned businesses and Monadnock Buy Local. We look forward to many more years of contributing to a stronger local economy and more vibrant region.

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Help Buy Local Enthusiasts Find You!

Locally owned businesses throughout the Monadnock Region are invited to create a free business listing in Monadnock Buy Local’s online directory. Currently, 300 independent businesses are listed, giving Buy Local enthusiasts a place to go to find the products and services they’re looking for. Users can search for businesses by name, town and offerings.

Eligible businesses can join at the “Online Listing Only” Level to receive their free listing at monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Join.

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A new survey of independent business owners across the U.S. and Canada yielded powerful evidence that pro-local attitudes are growing and driving customer traffic.  The results also indicate that the educational work of Monadnock Buy Local and similarly organized groups are yielding large benefits for their members and local economy.

The annual survey by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) and Advocates for Independent Business tallied responses from more than 3,000 independent businesses. Just under half were retailers, while restaurants, service providers and others comprised smaller portions.

independents-comparative-sales-increase-100billAmong the notable results:

  • Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy independent/buy local” campaign run by grassroots groups saw revenues grow 9.3% in 2014, nearly double the 4.9% increase for businesses in areas without such an alliance.
  • Overall, independent businesses reported revenue growth of 8.1% on average in 2014.  Monadnock Region independent businesses reported revenue growth of 10.3% on average in 2014.
  • The retailers surveyed experienced a 5.1% increase in same-store sales and 4.8% increase in holiday sales, beating the growth of many competing chains. Retailers in the Monadnock Region experienced a 10.8% increase in holiday sales.
  • Wages paid by respondents equaled or exceeded their chain competitors.  41% of independents’ employees make between $10 and $15 hourly, while 34% make $15 or more hourly.
  • 69% of businesses located in cities with an active Independent Business Alliance / Local First organization reported increased customer traffic or other benefits from these initiatives.

“The efforts of Monadnock Buy Local to promote the benefits of shopping at locally owned businesses was certainly evident in our stores,” stated Willard Williams, co-owner of The Toadstool Bookshops.  “Many, many people told us they were doing all their holiday shopping locally.  Plaid Friday, Shift Your Shopping — I’m confident all this contributed to the 11% increase in December sales at our bookstore in Keene.”

“The work of dedicated community coalitions continues to shift local consciousness and is driving more business to local entrepreneurs,” said Jeff Milchen, co-director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), which partnered in the survey. Monadnock Buy Local is a member of AMIBA, a national network of more than 85 community alliances supporting local entrepreneurs.

The survey also assessed major concerns of independent business owners, indicating:

  • Among retailers, 71% said competition from large internet companies was the biggest challenge facing their business, followed by supplier pricing that favors their big competitors, chain competition and other issues.
  • Top policy priorities among respondents are extending the requirement to collect sales tax to large online retailers and enforcing antitrust laws against large, dominant companies.
  • For independent businesses, which applied for bank loans within the past two years, 30% were denied and another 14% received less money than requested. Businesses owned by people of color, women and immigrants were far less likely to get loans.

“More people are seeking out independent businesses, which we know from academic research is great news for job creation, income growth and the well-being of communities,” said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher at ILSR. “Now we need policymakers to step up and create a level playing field to allow locally owned businesses to really thrive.”

With more than 150 members, Monadnock Buy Local plans to expand its work this year by encouraging businesses, organizations and municipalities to adopt innovations that forward a local, green and fair economy.

Download the 2015 Independent Business Report (PDF).

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