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MBL FB Cover Guide Collage copyLeveraging Our Localness
Workshop/Discussion with Monadnock Buy Local
Tuesday, July 8, Noon – 1pm
At the Hannah Grimes Center, Suite C Conference Room – Keene, NH

Each one of us is busy looking for ways to promote our business — both online and off.  Why not do this together?  Join us for a discussion on how we can better leverage our localness, together.

Cost: $5; Free to Monadnock Buy Local Members.  Please RSVP.

We invite you to bring a bagged lunch with you.

Help spread the word: Please share this event on Facebook.

The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), Monadnock Buy Local and the City of Keene, NH declare the week of July 1-7 Independents Week.

“It’s a time to reflect on the importance of economic democracy and community self-determination by celebrating the nation’s locally owned independent businesses and the stake each citizen has in shaping their home town’s future,” stated AMIBA director Jennifer Rockne.

Monadnock Buy Local is joining other local alliances and partner organizations nationwide — thousands of independent business owners and citizens who are participating in Independents Week — to celebrate our great independent businesses who exemplify the uniqueness of the Monadnock Region.  We have a reason to celebrate — these friends and neighbors embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and individuality in our community. Our citizens are integral to ensuring we keep these businesses that help define who we are and contribute to our sense of place.

City of Keene Mayor Kendall Lane will make his Independents Week proclamation at the June 19, 2014 City Council Meeting. “We applaud the declaration by Keene’s Mayor to recognize our independent businesses and nonprofits,” said Risley.

Monadnock Region citizens are invited to take the Indie Challenge from July 1-7, 2014 as part of Independents Week. Individuals who sign onto the challenge will try fulfilling all of their needs at locally-owned, independent businesses for one week. Details are at http://monadnocklocal.org/independents-week/.

Monadnock Buy Local is affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and is part of a growing national movement of communities rallying to support their independent businesses, take control of their local economies, and reverse the trend of chains and big boxes displacing locally owned businesses: http://www.amiba.net.

Independents-Week-2014-PosterDownload a PDF of the Independents Week Poster

MBL FB Cover Guide Collage copy
Leveraging Our Localness
Workshop/Discussion with Monadnock Buy Local
Tuesday, June 3, Noon – 1pm
At the Hannah Grimes Center, Suite C Conference Room – Keene, NH

Each one of us is busy looking for ways to promote our business — both online and off.  Why not do this together?  Join us for a discussion on how we can better leverage our localness, together.

You can expect to leave this discussion with at least 5 new ways for you to get the word out about your business and Monadnock Buy Local.

Please bring:

  • Your top 5 ways for promoting your business
  • A Laptop or iPad

Cost: $5; Free to Monadnock Buy Local Members.  Please RSVP.

We invite you to bring a bagged lunch with you.

Help spread the word: Please share this event on Facebook.

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

We just wrapped up our FIFTH YEAR of recruitment efforts for Monadnock Buy Local! Let’s take a moment to celebrate this milestone and introduce you to our membership.

First, an acknowledgement of how far we’ve come! Founded in June 2009, Monadnock Buy Local started as a pilot project of the Keene Downtown Group — called Keene Buy Local. After our first wave of recruitment in late June, membership of local and independent businesses in downtown Keene reached 45 businesses.

In November 2009, Keene Buy Local quickly evolved into Monadnock Buy Local (MBL), adopting a broader regional scope for the following reasons/goals:

  • Engage people who may not live in Keene but work and play in Keene (the City of Keene’s population triples every day).
  • Measure the impacts of our movement using Southwest Regional Planning Commission’s data (This organization uses the same footprint MBL uses).
  • Complement and strengthen the existing local first movements in New Hampshire (These movements are also regional based; i.e.: Seacoast Local).
  • Encourage shoppers to buy local wherever they are (Keene does not have every type of shop to serve our residents’ needs, so we need to encourage people to shop at nearby towns instead of shopping online).
  • Embrace the pride we have for Mount Monadnock and the recognition it has as an outdoor tourist destination in New England (geographical center of our region, distinguishes us from other population centers).

We published our first Monadnock Buy Local Guide in August 2010 with 54 members from 11 towns. Then we thought… now what? That question inspired us to host a retreat for 15 community leaders, presenting our one-year anniversary highlights and inspiration for our 2011 Strategic Plan. We collectively created a 2015 Vision for the Monadnock Region Local Economy:

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 Farms.

Leaders and public officials understand the importance of the local economy and independent businesses – how it contributes to the health of our communities. They create policies that encourage independent businesses to grow and thrive. Each town has 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 our region understands it is part of something larger – a “glocal” movement – and we’re excited to see where our new economy takes us.

Whoosh – guess we have a lot of work to this year to make this vision a reality! Who is going to help us move forward? You and our 146 business members!

Speaking of our members, let’s move into introductions. Our 146 Monadnock Buy Local members come from 23 different towns. While our ultimate goal is to have members in all 35 towns within the Monadnock Region, we’re proud of our reach so far — from Orchard Hill Breadworks in Alstead to Prospect Communications in West Chesterfield, over to the Amazing Flower Farm in New Ipswich and Holland Homestead Farm in Hinsdale. While the majority of our members are located in Keene, we have 13 members from Peterborough (thanks to Willard Williams from Toadstool Bookshops) and 8 members from Jaffrey (Thanks to John Sepe from Jaffrey is Cool!).

Our businesses represent a diversity of industries – from Alternative Healthcare Providers like Five Element Acupuncture in Keene and Yoga with Josephine in Surry, to Wineries like Poocham Hill Winery in Westmoreland and Walpole Mountain View Winery in Walpole. We’re proud to announce that we have 16 Farms amongst our membership and 4 Monadnock Green Business of the Year Award winners.

We expect to release our 2014-2015 Monadnock Buy Local Guide by late July – until then we invite you to explore who our members are at http://monadnockbuylocal.wildapricot.org/Members. Thank you for supporting locally owned businesses throughout the Monadnock Region – and we look forward to many more years of contributing to a stronger local economy and more vibrant region.

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!}.

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.

Shaker Style invites you to celebrate spring at their Spring Open House and Art Event on Saturday, May 10, 1oam – 5pm at their Furniture Workshop and Showroom Art Gallery located at 292 Chesham Road in Harrisville, NH. The event includes:

Scratch & Dent Repair Workshop
A Do-It-Yourself workshop with tips and tricks for repairing minor dents, scratches and surface abrasions on your fine furnishings.  You’re invited to bring your small furniture pieces for evaluation and recommendation. Touch up and repair supplies will be available for purchase and Shaker Style will guide you through your project.

Fine Art Display
The spring event will showcase fresh work in pastel and oil from award winning local artists Chris Reid, Mary Iselin and David Dodge, fine handcrafted furniture and the works of three-dimensional artists; including unique hand-blown glass by Trish Dalto, a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen and functional hand-thrown pottery by Chris Justice of Peterborough NH. Visit the Artist page of their website to see examples of their work.

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