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Congratulations to Monadnock Buy Local Member, Steadman Media Group. They took on a large project this year with New Hampshire Made and successfully launched this new website: www.nhmade.com

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NH MADE is excited to announce the official launch of its new website devoted to enhance the user’s ability to locate and purchase New Hampshire Made products and services. Consumer demand for local products continues to grow and NH MADE is your one-stop access to all things New Hampshire; whether you’re seeking locally made products in your neighborhood or unique holiday gifts with a local flair.

Features include:
– Easy to find NH MADE member profiles with links and interactive map
– Direct access to NH-based businesses who provide corporate gifts, fundraising ideas, and wedding favors all with a local flair!
– Consumer-focused, user-friendly online store
– Strong integrations with all social media platforms

The new website offers simplified navigation and search tools allowing visitors, members and buyers a quick overview and the ability to immediately find what they are looking for.

Trish Ballantyne, NH MADE’s Executive Director says “The NH MADE brand represents 800 small business members state-wide who offer a diverse assortment of authentic locally-made products and services. Our new website is all about making these inspiring people and their offerings accessible to all who understand that buying local is best for the economy.”

The concept and design were developed in cooperation with a New Hampshire web strategist and new media business, Steadman Media Group, founded and operated by Mikel Steadman of Troy.

Says Steadman, “The objective was to design, develop, and realize an innovative, much improved e-commerce store and membership center with greater content and functionality, all while placing a focus on enhancing the user experience.”

For more than 17 years, NH MADE has served as the official statewide non-profit member organization created to help strengthen New Hampshire’s economy by increasing the awareness of and demand for New Hampshire-made products and services. To learn more about NH MADE and its members visit, www.nhmade.com or call 603-679-9800.

The Power of Plaid

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

On Plaid Friday, November 28, hundreds of Monadnock Region community members and business owners will wear their plaid like a badge (whether shirt, pants, skirt, scarf, socks, hat or entire outfit from head to toe) — proudly displaying their commitment to shifting more of their holiday spending from big box chain stores to locally owned businesses.1425626_440593572719185_1983016412_nThere’s a certain power that comes with wearing plaid on Plaid Friday.  Plaid, a fabric with individual colors woven together into a larger pattern, becomes a symbol of us — the diverse locally owned businesses, nonprofits and citizens that together form the unique tapestry of a strong local economy.  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.

“We can create jobs and build our economy, locally and nationally, by investing in our communities through small businesses, healthy farms and community banks,” said Michelle Long, Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. “When you spend money locally during the holidays, you are investing in the economic well-being of your community, your neighbors and your family.”

AthenianaireMany studies highlight the positive impacts of supporting locally owned businesses — from job creation to increased charitable giving — but there are also the intangible benefits of supporting your favorite independent businesses.  “I love visiting my favorite shops and people,” shared Rebecca Podniesinski, a Plaid Friday participant.  “Knowing who you are buying from is really a gift in itself. It’s a personal experience, as it should be. Keene shop owners know me and my family — and that is priceless.”

Plaid Friday started in Oakland, CA as an antidote to the consumer shopping frenzy known as Black Friday. In the Monadnock Region, a number of independent business owners will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs, answering questions about the event while taking photos of shoppers decked out in plaid.   Each locally owned business celebrates Plaid Friday differently, but they share the same mission: to encourage more of us to buy local.  Stay tuned for more details at http://www.monadnocklocal.com/plaidfriday.

“More than ever, people recognize economic recovery will be built from the grassroots up and we all have a role to play with each purchase we make,” stated Jeff Milchen, Co-Founder of the American Independent Business Alliance. “By going local, we’re helping our communities as well as treating ourselves and the people we give gifts to a more personal and high-quality experience.”

While we thank all the locally owned businesses owners who support Plaid Friday each year, we want to give a special shout-out to this year’s Plaid Friday sponsors: 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 and Ted’s Shoe & Sport.  With their extra support, we’ll be able to spread the word about the power of Plaid Friday to more and more people.

Please join us on November 28th in using the power of plaid to galvanize us all to shift our shopping habits this holiday season and make our spending work for our local economy.

Plaid-Friday-2014

The Toadstool Bookshops invites you to a new tradition:
CIDER MONDAY on DECEMBER 1, 2014

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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!

CIDER MONDAY PARTICIPANTS:

- 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.

Transition Keene Advocate recently compiled a page highlighting the Sharing Economy in Keene, NH

Their summary: A sharing economy is an economy of access to rather than ownership of physical and human resources.

The Sharing Economy uses tools like Crowdfunding, Time Banks/Time Exchanges and Makerspaces.

View Keene’s Sharing Economy Page and, in the spirit of sharing, please pass it on to others!

Honeycomb

From  November 1st to December 31st, Monadnock Buy Local is joining the Shift Your Shopping Movement.  Ready to Shift Your Shopping?

If you are on Facebook, go to the Shift Your Shopping 2014 event page and click “JOIN” – Show your friends and family that you are shifting at least 10% of your holiday purchases from non-local businesses to locally owned businesses.

Learn more about the Shift Your Shopping Campaign at ShiftYourShopping.org.

2014 SHIFT YOUR SHOPPING PLEDGES:

  • Beth D. of New Ipswich pledges to shift 50% of her holiday shopping to locally-owned & independent businesses like StoryBook Farm (New Ipswich), Field of Dreams Farm (Amherst), Barret Hill Farm (Mason), and Winters Summer Hill Farm (New Ipswich).
  • Gloria M. of Peterborough pledges to shift 50% of her holiday shopping to locally-owned & independent businesses like Joseph’s Coat, Bowerbird, Vicuna Chocolate, New England Everyday Goods, Ava Marie’s Chocolate Factory, Peterborough Shoe Store, Toadstool Bookshop and Nature’s Green Grocer.
  • Sue M. of Peterborough pledges to shift 75% of her holiday shopping to locally-owned & independent businesses like the Toadstool Bookshop, Nature’s Green Grocer, Maggie’s, Bower Bird, Joseph’s Coat, Roy’s Market and Morgan’s Way.
  • 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.
  • Georgia C. of Keene pledges to shift 100% of her holiday shopping to locally-owned & independent businesses.
  • L. Sieverts of Nelson pledges to shift 25% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including the Hannah Grimes Marketplace.
  • Lisette N. of Fairhope, AL (!) pledges to shift her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses.
  • Marcia D. of Keene pledges to shift 80% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Everything New England and all businesses on Main St. Keene.

2013 SHIFT YOUR SHOPPING PLEDGES:

  • Missy B. of Westmoreland pledges to shift 100% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Jayelay Jewelers, Sta-Fit for Women, Cheshire Gardens, Of Moose & Mountain, Toadstools Bookshop, The Monadnock Food Co-op, Cheshire Horse and Long Ridge Farm.
  • Janet H. of Jaffrey pledges to shift 100% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses.
  • Tina B. of Laconia pledges to shift 45% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Sunflower Natural Foods and Trustworthy Hardware in Laconia and Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene.
  • Jacqueline K. of Troy pledges to shift 50% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Sugar and Spice in Troy, Miller Brothers Newton, Toadstool Bookshops, One Stop Country Pet Supply, Ingenuity Country Store, Life is Sweet, Ye Goodie Shop, Ted’s Shoe and Sport, Monadnock Food Co-op and Blueberry Fields.
  • Betsy F. of Keene pledges to shift 45% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: One Stop Country Pet Supply and Blueberry Fields.
  • C. Shanahan of Harrisville pledges to shift 65% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Mayfair Farm in Harrisville, Sta-Fit in Keene, Tracie’s Community Farm and Toadstool Bookshops.
  • Gail F. of Spofford pledges to shift 30% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Toadstool Bookshops, Your Kitchen Store, In the Company of Flowers, Mayfair Farm, Harrisville Design, Dilly’s, Penelope’s, Urban Exchange and Ye Goodie Shop.
  • Nancy Ann B. of Surry pledges to shift 25% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Cheshire Quilter’s Guild, Wren’s Nest, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, MB Massage Studio, Your Kitchen Store, Port Authority and Toadstool Bookshops.
  • Jen R. of Keene pledges to shift 100% of her shopping to her favorite locally owned businesses including: Toadstool Bookshops, Monadnock Food Co-op, Black Squirrel, Hannah Grimes Marketplace and MORE!
  • Gabrielle S. of Keene pledges to shift 20% of their shopping to their favorite locally owned businesses including: Toadstool Bookshops, Monadnock Food Co-op and Dilly’s for Kids.

Bicycling Means Business

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

Parking – it’s an issue that many downtown communities face. To many, the answer lies in increasing the number of parking spaces for cars. Some communities, however, are discovering a better answer: increase parking spaces for bicycles.

Not only do bicycles take up less parking space, more and more studies show that bicycling actually boosts revenues at bike-accessible businesses. This is great news for local governments tackling the issue of parking — great news for business owners looking to boost their profits — and great news for those of us who love to bike.

One study in Bern, Switzerland found that businesses made more profit per square meter of bike parking ($9,900 per year) than car parking ($8,800). How can this be? While bicyclists tend to buy smaller amounts than those who arrive by car, they shop more often and spend more each month compared to those who commute by car.

Individual business owners in our region are working to encourage bicycling at their workplace. “We at Filtrine have tried to make wellness a part of our culture.  We have had a wellness program for over 20 years,” shared Peter Hansel, President of Filtrine Manufacturing Company based in Keene.  “Biking to work contributes not only to the health of the individual but also to the community by reducing traffic, air pollution and fossil fuel consumption.  We have a bike rack at our facility and would like to see it more heavily used.”

What’s happening collectively in the Monadnock Region to make biking mean business?

Rack It Up! Program

The Monadnock Region Transportation Management Association (MRTMA), a coalition of businesses, organizations and individuals building a sustainable transportation future for the Monadnock Region, launched the Rack It Up! Program this summer. This cost share program partners with businesses and organizations to bring bicycle racks to locations throughout Keene to encourage more bicycling. There were six participants in the first round of the Rack It Up! Program: Monadnock Food Co-op, Savings Bank of Walpole, Southwestern Community Services, Keene Housing, Community Kitchen of Keene and United Church of Christ.

“In downtown Keene, where convenient on-street parking is sometimes scarce, my hope is that Keene’s downtown businesses will embrace the establishment of more bicycle parking,” said J.B. Mack, Principal Planner at Southwest Region Planning Commission.  “It offers customers the ultimate convenience to park right in front of stores, and it is a much cheaper and efficient alternative than using scarce real estate for vehicle parking.  Many bicycles around town are equipped with storage design solutions and can easily transport their store purchases.”

Learn more about MRTMA and the Rack It Up! Program: monadnocktma.org/.

Bicycle Benefits Program

A national program called Bicycle Benefits encourages more people to commute by bicycle by offering discounts and other incentives to bikers every time they visit a member business. Participants show their Bicycle Benefits sticker affixed to their helmet and instantly receive a reward for biking. Member businesses in Keene include Prime Roast (offering 25 cents off any coffee drink), Brewbaker’s Café (offering 10% off) and The Works (offering 10% off). The Monadnock Food Co-op is in the process of becoming a business member, too. Learn more at bb2.bicyclebenefits.org/.

In addition to the Rack It Up! and Bicycle Benefits Program, there are many more opportunities to make bicycling mean business in our region. Here are some examples:

Bicycle Friendly Business Program

The League of American Bicyclists created the Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program to recognize businesses that encourage their staff and customers to bicycle. The program provides technical assistance to participants and resources to help promote business accomplishments.

So far, 480 businesses have received the BFB designation but there’s only one BFB in New Hampshire: USDA Forest Service Lab in Durham. Let’s see if, together, we can encourage at least one Monadnock Region business to apply during the next BFB application period. The deadline is January 15, 2015: bikeleague.org/content/businesses/.

Protected Bike Lanes

Creating lanes just for bicycles also means business. According to the New York City Department of Transportation, retail sales on Ninth Avenue increased 49 percent since protected bike lanes were installed. Protected bike lanes use planters, curbs, parked cars to create a buffer between bicyclists and moving cars and instills a greater sense of safety for both bikers and drivers.

Policy

Finally, to have bicycling really mean business in our region we need our city and town governments to adopt best-practice cycling policies like Complete Streets, Road Diets and Open Streets. ChangeLab Solutions has an excellent resource called “Getting the Wheels Rolling” describing all these bicycle friendly policies. You can download a copy at http://ow.ly/BybsO.

Are you ready to make bicycling mean business in the Monadnock Region? Talk to your co-workers and the business owners you know about implementing the programs, projects and policies that encourage more of us to bicycle. Let’s get those bike wheels rolling!

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The Future of New Hampshire’s Food System needs YOU

If you spend your professional or civic life focused on food or the food system, please attend a regional gathering to connect with others and shape our network and strategy. All are welcome.

Attend a regional gathering in your area to

•    have the opportunity to shape a state-wide Food Strategy to better our food system
•    learn about trends, data, challenges, and innovations in our food system
•    network with others doing work in the food system
•    and identify some actions for reaching our food system goals

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