I consider us lucky – Monadnock Buy Local, that is – that key players in the local economy movement continually ask, “Is our work making a difference?” and “Why is our work important?”

Tackling the former question first, there is strong evidence that our work is, in fact, strengthening locally owned businesses.

That evidence comes from the eighth annual Independent Business Survey led by the Institute for Local Self Reliance and the Advocates for Independent Business.  This year’s survey garnered responses from 3,057 businesses across North America, all independent and locally owned. We’re proud that thirty-nine of these responses came from Monadnock Region businesses.

What positive impacts did this survey highlight?

More people are embracing the Buy Local Message: Independent businesses reported revenue growth of 8.1% on average in 2014 (compared to 5.1% across the entire retail industry).  Monadnock Region independent businesses reported an average of 10.3% growth.

Buy Local Alliances drive more people to Buy Local: Sixty-nine percent of businesses located in cities with active Independent Business Alliances / Local First campaigns reported increased customer traffic and other benefits from these initiatives.  They reported sales growth of 9.3% on average in 2014, compared to 4.9% for businesses in places without such an initiative.

independents-comparative-sales-increase-100billShift Your Shopping and Plaid Friday influenced holiday shoppers: The retailers surveyed experienced a 4.8% average increase in holiday sales, beating many competing chains (holiday sales for all retail businesses actually fell 0.9% this year). Retailers in the Monadnock Region experienced a 10.8% increase in holiday sales.

“The efforts of Monadnock Buy Local to promote the benefits of shopping at locally owned businesses are 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.”

Read the full 2015 Independent Business Report on our website.

Now on to the second question: Why is our work important?

Once again, we can turn to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for an answer and use their Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses list (reprinted with permission):

Local Character and Prosperity: In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.

Community Well-Being: Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.

Local Decision-Making:  Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy: Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.

Job and Wages:  Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.

Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.

Public Benefits and Costs:  Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.

Environmental Sustainability: Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.

Competition: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.

Product Diversity:  A number of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantee a much broader range of product choices.

Learn more from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Our work is important and it is making a difference! We are retailers, wellness providers, architects, bankers, chefs, farmers, grocers, artists and more – and we invite you to join with us to make even more of a difference.  Individuals can support our work as Citizen Members.  Learn more about membership today.

Originally posted at Monadnotes

Mole Hill is actually a converted tool and die shop in East Alstead.  Giant, colorfully-painted (and occasionally working) machines are part of the décor, as well as artwork and a variety of seating options. The lighting, wood stoves, and wood paneling all make the space warm and welcoming.  Even more welcoming is the hosting provided by Dennis Molesky and Jackie Kensen.

Read: A Visit to Mole Hill Theatre

Which businesses, organizations and initiatives supporting GREEN MANUFACTURING in our Monadnock Local Living Economy?

Howard’s Leather shared this video link: A look at the state of the manufacturing industry in the United States

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the economic impact Precision Tool Manufacturers have on the Monadnock Local Living Economy – so we also want to highlight this industry here:

Our Facebook fans generated these recommendations – we hope you will add your suggestions as well!

Which businesses, organizations and initiatives are supporting ALTERNATIVE ENERGY & ENERGY EFFICIENCY in our Monadnock Local Living Economy?

Facebook fans generated a short list of recommendations – we hope you will add your suggestions as well:

From Patti – “Here at Cheshire Garden, we use photovoltaics to run the 7 freezers we fill with our organic berries until we can cook them down into preserves, heating our house in winter with the excess steam.”

From Jamie – “Monadnock Energy Resources Initiative is working on bringing the Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative model to the Monadnock region.”

Our Facebook fans generated these recommendations – we hope you will add your suggestions as well!

We invite you to join Monadnock Buy Local, a network of retailers, service providers, restaurateurs, farmers, artists, nonprofit organizations and more.  We’re in our sixth year and we hope to connect with you and your staff, as well as your customers and clients.

While member surveys show that most of us joined Monadnock Buy Local to encourage our customers and clients to “think local first” (and make locally owned businesses their first choice), we also joined to help our local economy grow, meet like-minded business owners and find ways to source more of our own products and services locally.

Our values may drive us to join – but we also enjoy many membership benefits, such as a listing in Monadnock Buy Local’s annual Buy Local Guide, that is distributed throughout the Monadnock Region, and group marketing opportunities during public education campaigns such as Plaid Friday.

A new nationwide survey of independent business owners yielded powerful evidence that pro-local attitudes are growing, driving customer traffic, and indicates the educational work of Monadnock Buy Local and more than one hundred similarly-organized groups are yielding large benefits for their members. Together we are stronger!

Join With Us Before May 1, 2015

For more information, please contact us at 603-283-5401, monadnockbuylocal@gmail.com.

Together, we are stronger!


Plaid Friday CollageMonadnock Buy Local’s Overarching Goals:

  • PROMOTE IMPACTS: Organize a campaign that educates customers, businesses and government agencies about the benefits of purchasing from locally owned businesses.
  • DRIVE BEHAVIOR CHANGE: Increase the visibility of locally owned businesses in our region and the number of citizens who shop local first.
  • BUILD RELATIONSHIPS: Bring together independent businesses and its loyal local customer base for mutual benefits and networking opportunities.
  • WORK REGIONALLY: Build stronger relationships with business owners, non-profits directors and citizens within each of our 35 towns, resulting in more impacts and future revenue streams.
  • FOSTER SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: Encourage businesses, organizations and municipalities to adopt innovations that forward a local, green and fair economy.

How are we doing?  Please read our latest annual report.

Which businesses, organizations and initiatives are supporting HEALTH in our Monadnock Local Living Economy?

Facebook fans generated a short list of recommendations – we hope you will add your suggestions as well:

From Missy: “There are SO many [businesses & organizations making us more healthy] — we are fortunate here. Farms like Edgefield Farm & Milkweed Farm who provide us with fresh food; groups like  Healthy Monadnock 2020 who educate & motivate a community; Businesses like Blossom Skin Care Studio & Spa & Badger Balm who understand what we put on our body affects our health & wellbeing — just to name a few!  Then don’t get me started on massage! There are so many health benefits! We all in the Monadnock Region – NH are super lucky because there are so many wonderful practitioners here!!”

From Meeting Waters YMCA: “We’re proud of all we are doing to improve health at the personal, family, organizational, community, states (NH & VT) and national levels through our youth development programs; healthy family home initiative; and our Healthy Communities Coalition that is “making the healthy choice the easy choice where people live, work, learn and play” in the Fall Mountain region and Windham County; as well our advocacy work at the local, state and federal levels.”

From Carey: “The Mt. Monadnock District of the Boy Scouts of America teach kids how to live healthy, play outdoors, treat nature right, and stress being good to your body and your community.”

From Ellie: “Of course I have to add www.MonadnockRideshare.org. Saving on stressful situations via carpooling and less green house gases into the air. Why not carpool?”

From Season:Cornerstone Center for Wellness has many, many practitioners working there making our community healthier!”

From Annie:Morning Sun Mindfulness Center! Thanks for strengthening the health on all levels of our local community!”

From Jen: Small businesses From Inc Magazine: Small Business Does a Body Good? A Day in the Life


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