Archive for the ‘Buying Local Adventures’ Category

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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Congratulations to Susan Mann of Greenfield, NH — the winner of our first ever Shift Your Shopping Spree.  Susan will receive $500 in gift certificates from her choice of Monadnock Buy Local member businesses.  Her winning receipt was from the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, NH. Susan Mann SYS Spree Winner 2014This contest was 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.   Over 1,030 receipts were collected from 353 individuals totaling $45,000 in local purchases. We can’t wait for next year!Shift-Your-Shopping-Spree-Poster

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#MBuyLocal Selfies at the Eat, Drink & Be Local Event

The @ClarkMortenson crew supporting @MonadnockLocal & @ECBrewpub #MBuyLocal #Represent

The @ClarkMortenson crew supporting @MonadnockLocal & @ECBrewpub #MBuyLocal #Represent

See more selfies below!

Elm-City-PosterElm City Restaurant & Brewery hosted a fundraising event for Monadnock Buy Local called “Eat, Drink & Be Local” on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Over 85 restaurant patrons mentioned “Monadnock Buy Local” on March 24th at Elm City Restaurant & Brewery and triggered 10% of their check to be donated to this nonprofit. We love that Monadnock Buy Local members like Elm City Restaurant & Brewery are stepping up and raising support for our work. Together we can inspire more individuals to shift their spending to locally owned businesses to create a stronger local living economy.

Thanks to all who supported this event!

Local Massage Therapists supporting Monadnock Buy Local today! At Elm City Brewery. #mbuylocal — with Jessica Day, Jessica Boynton and Jen White.

Local Massage Therapists supporting Monadnock Buy Local today! At Elm City Brewery. #mbuylocal — with Jessica Day, Jessica Boynton and Jen White.

Kevin from Keene Music Festival at Elm City Brewing Company, Restaurant & Brewery today for Eat, Drink & Be Local Fundraiser! #‎MBuyLocal‬

Kevin from Keene Music Festival at Elm City Brewing Company, Restaurant & Brewery today for Eat, Drink & Be Local Fundraiser! #‎MBuyLocal‬

Monadnock Time Exchange supports MBL!

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Now available from Kimberly Peck Photography:

2015 Farm. Food. Life. Wall Calendar

* 12 Featured New England Farms * Includes January 2016 *

11 x 17 inch (when open) 2015 Wall Calendar.
8.5 x 11 folded.
Full Color + Black and White Photographs.
Each calendar is shrink-wrapped for protection.
Printed on fabulous recycled paper + printed in Maine!

Shop Local * Shop Handmade * Shop Happy

As a continuation of her on-going Farm. Food. Life. series, and her first book (Farm. Food. Life: Photographs + Recipes Inspired by Local Farms, published 2013), her new 2015 Farm wall calendar features 12 New England farms with color and black + white photographs. A visual monthly chronicle of New Hampshire farms, her focus, as always, is on the hard work that farmers undertake to produce the vegetables, dairy products, eggs and meat that we eat every day.

The Calendar will be available at these places:
Via phone or email orders: 924.6556 or kpeckphoto@comcast.net
My Etsy Shop (with FREE shipping until December 1) (click to purchase + more photos!)
Toadstool Bookshop : Peterborough NH

Local Craft Fairs:
Monadnock Waldorf School Fair, Keene NH : November 14 + 15
Broke Affordable Arts Fair, Peterborough NH : November 22
Monadnock Food Co-op, Plaid Friday Photobooth, Keene NH : November 28
Living Local Art Fair, Peterborough NH : November 29
Antioch Winterfest, Keene NH : December 11

Kimberly Peck, photographer
Portfolio: kimberlypeckphotography.com
Facebook: facebook.com/kimberlypeckphotography

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The Toadstool Bookshops invites you to a new tradition:


Heard enough about Cyber Monday? – that Monday after Thanksgiving when everyone is said to start their online Christmas shopping and the news is filled with reports of how many billions were spent at websites, and no doubt, resulting in another giant jump in sales. Well enough of that!

“Shift Your Shopping” and join the Toadstool Bookshops for Cider Monday! Cider… made from squished micro soft apple products. Delicious! 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!


– Antiques at the Colony Mill
– Belle Femme Boutique
– Cheshire Goldsmith
– Clay’s
– Creative Encounters
– Hannah Grimes Marketplace
– Monadnock Food Co-op
– MJD & Company Hair Design
– Ted’s Shoe and Sports
– The Toadstool Bookshops
– Your Kitchen Store

Cider Monday – soon to overshadow Cyber Monday as THE shopping event of the year. You read it here. If you have a store we hope you too will celebrate Cider Monday. If not, do stop in, and thanks for shopping locally.

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You know how it goes — attend a conference, feel super-charged and ready to move forward on a bunch of inspiring ideas…only to return home and be swept up in the day-to-day realities of life.

Well, I’m stepping up my commitment and making the list of my Post-AMIBA Conference to-dos public!  Next time you see me, ask me how I’m doing on my list {gulp!}.

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Originally published in the Monadnock Shopper News

Each year, over 100 independent businesses — retailers, farmers, artists, chefs, service providers, nonprofit leaders and more — join Monadnock Buy Local. Why do they join? Most join to encourage their customers and clients to “think local first” (and make locally owned businesses their first choice to help our local economy grow) – but many also join to find ways to source more of their own business needs locally.  Monadnock Buy Local members want to buy local too!

We asked our members to share what they currently source from other locally owned businesses and the barriers to buying local. To give you a taste of their responses, here are answers from the owners of Ted’s Shoe and Sports, MB Massage Studio and Facilitated Change:

“We purchase all of our shopping bags, gift boxes, and wrapping supplies from W.G Ellerkamp,” said Ted McGreer of Ted’s Shoe and Sports in Keene. “We purchase our office supplies from Curry Copy Center, cleaning supplies from KIPCO (Keene Industrial Paper Company), labels from Electronic Imaging, store fixtures from Counter-Tech, computers from Computer Solutions, light bulbs at CED and Green Energy Options and we purchase our lunch at locally owned businesses.”

Ted continues, “I make the choice to purchase our products locally because it instills a culture among our employees that hopefully trickles down into their future purchasing decisions.  I also do it because it’s simply the right thing to do.  Live here, work here, shop here, play here! Barriers may certainly include paying more, but every local business I know understands that they need to be competitive, and often…. shopping locally saves money!”

“As I look through the list of expenses this past year it looks like at good 80% plus were expenses shopped locally,” shared Missy Blanchard of MB Massage Studio in Keene.  “Examples include: massage oil from Badger Balm and The Monadnock Food Co-op, printing from Silver Direct and The Keene Sentinel, client treats from Life is Sweet, Ye Goodie Shoppe and local individuals, professional photography from Kimberly Peck, events and advertising that supported local initiatives like Pathways for Keene, Monadnock Buy Local, Comfort Keepers, The Westmoreland Lions Club and then countless business meetings at local restaurants and coffee shops. Now that I look at these stats, I feel pretty happy about where my money has landed — but there is room for improvement.”

“I purchase my advertising locally,” states Lisa Sieverts of Facilitated Change in Harrisville. “First, by sponsoring the Pathways for Keene Four on the Fourth race, and second by advertising in the Monadnock Small Business Journal. I try to purchase office supplies at Steele’s in Peterborough whenever I can. When I hold a local event, I work with a local caterer, especially Luca’s.”

How can Monadnock Buy Local’s help more businesses think local first when it comes to buying services, supplies and the products they carry? We plan to create a comprehensive list of all the locally owned businesses our members currently purchasing from. We will then add those businesses to our online directory and promote a new category called “Biz 2 Biz” available to everyone at http://monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Directory. Once the gaps in products and services are identified, our hope is that current businesses decide to expand their offerings to meet those needs or entrepreneurs step in and create new businesses to fill the gaps.

In addition to helping individual businesses source more from locally owned businesses, we could also develop a group-purchasing program for our members. By pooling our purchases, we can create more buying power and gain discounts from vendors. Local First Arizona, a statewide group like Monadnock Buy Local, has a partnership with an office-supply company that provides a 10 percent discount to its members.

Another example of a group-purchasing program is from the Boulder Independent Business Alliance. They coordinated a recycled paper coffee cup purchasing program for their member cafes. A graphic designer, also a member of the alliance, made a design for the cup that incorporated all the names and locations of the member cafes opting into the program along with a strong educational message. Another member stored the cups and delivered only the quantities each cafe needed.  The cups saved cafes money — and spread the think local first message!

Since cost can be an issue, why not promote a way for business owners to source supplies and services in exchange for their time and talents? The Monadnock Time Exchange (MTX) is an emerging network that helps individuals match unmet needs with untapped resources. For every hour one member does something needed by another member of the time exchange, they “earn” a time credit that they can “spend” to receive a wide variety of free services offered by other talented neighbors, community members, and participating organizations active in the time exchange. MTX hopes to develop a network that also works for businesses, as well as individuals. Learn more at http://monadnocktimeexchange.com.

In a future article we’ll look beyond how we can help our members think local first and instead focus on ways to inspire municipalities and institutions to do the same.

Don’t forget! Locally owned businesses & nonprofits are invited to join Monadnock Buy Local by May 15th to be listed in the regional paper-based 2014-2015 Monadnock Buy Local Guide.  Learn more at http://monadnocklocal.org/join-us.

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