Monadnock Buy Local invites you to celebrate Independents Week on July 1st - 7th.
Independents Week is all about taking the time to recognize our local independent businesses and the community values they embody:
Sign on today!
Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News
“Business owners, in addition to keeping financially solvent, have a responsibility to conduct business in a way that enhances a quality of life for everyone. The ‘buy local’ movement empowers communities to create a big-picture economy for long-term social and environmental benefit. Local business owners and their customers are part of the solution!”
--Valerie Piedmont of Green Energy Options
Monadnock Buy Local wants to help empower businesses and community members to be part of the solution. One way is through our emerging Complete Economy Project -- an effort to facilitate the adoption of policies and practices that ensure our local economy works for more of us.
Earlier this month, we held our Complete Economy Event with Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). Stacy shared nine public policy ideas to cultivate a Complete Economy at the local and state level.
Small banks and credit unions held 15% of bank assets in the U.S. in 2014, yet they provided 40% of all the small business lending that year. Cities and towns can help get more cash into the hands of entrepreneurs and small business owners by depositing a portion of public funds into local banks and credit unions.
In Portland, Oregon, the City Council passed a resolution to shift $2.5 million of city funds to local banks and credit unions. The resolution also empowered city staff to create “responsible banking” criteria to assist with the bank selection process.
Los Angeles requires all banks to submit a report of their lending and investment activities annually. That information is then compiled and published on the city’s website, making it accessible to all.
Northeast Investment Cooperative gives Minnesota residents a way to collectively purchase, renovate and manage commercial and residential real estate in Northeast Minneapolis. Membership in the cooperative starts at $1,000 and individuals can invest more by purchasing non-voting stock. It’s a great mechanism for empowering community members to put their capital to work in their own local economy.
How does public policy fit into this idea? Minnesota passed a policy that empowers cooperatives to raise more capital from their members and skip the expensive and time-consuming process of registering as a securities (investment) offering. As a result, the cooperative movement in Minnesota is strong -- and businesses like Northeast Investment Cooperative exist.
Cleveland adopted policies that motivate the city to do more business with locally owned businesses. In 2014, the city shifted 39% of its $147 million in contracts to small and locally owned businesses. These projects fulfill city needs while investing in the local economy.
The city’s selection process for choosing contracts is unique. It certifies businesses in a variety of categories such as minority-owned, female-owned and sustainable businesses. Certified businesses get a 2-9% bid preference on city contracts. The city also sets goals for how much business it will give to these certified businesses. For example, one goal is to have 30% of construction subcontractors comprised of certified small and local businesses.
Imagine if the City of Keene or State of New Hampshire collected and published data that helped us measure our Complete Economy -- data that will help us evaluate the impacts of any public policy change. With richer data we could set goals and collectively track our progress over time.
“Local and state governments, as well as the federal government, collect lots of data on the economy, but the information they gather and publish is not very useful for tracking the market share of place-based enterprises,” said Stacy Mitchell. “Few states could tell you, for example, what share of their food comes from local or regional sources. No state regularly analyzes economic leakages to see where there are opportunities to develop local industries to meet local needs. Many states do not even publish information on the economic development incentives they provide and the outcomes of those giveaways.”
What’s next for the Complete Economy project? We’re reaching out to potential partners and the City of Keene to discuss specific needs and policy opportunities ripe for our community. We’re also reviewing case studies and hope to advocate for our first Complete Economy policy this fall. Please stay updated at monadnocklocal.org/completeeconomy.
By Nicole Colson, Originally Published in New Hampshire Business Review
A Monadnock Region initiative aimed at adopting policies designed to level the playing field for locally owned businesses is being developed in hopes it will serve as a statewide model.
The Complete Economy Project, spearheaded by Monadnock Buy Local, is an effort by citizens to create a regional economy by implementing policies and practices that balances diverse types of business by putting them on equal footing. The effort was launched last fall.
Monadnock Buy Local is a grassroots network of citizens, businesses and organizations that promotes the economic and community benefits of spending locally, while supporting programs and policies that support a local, green and fair economy.
Stakeholders will decide what policies should be created –for example, better access to broadband, more composting and less trash removal or more hospitals and municipalities buying from locally-owned businesses.
Those are only a few ideas – at this point, there is no focus on one business idea or sector to make the economy stronger. Instead the organization, which is working with the city of Keene, is looking at data that shows how well the local economy is operating and whether certain policies that don't make sense need to be ruled out.
The movement needs stakeholders and partners to help implement the ideas. Possible partners in consideration are the local Small Business Development Center, chamber of commerce and regional planning commission among other economic development groups and independent business owners.
Stacy Mitchell, economy researcher and author from the Portland, Maine, office of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance – a national nonprofit that researches, analyzes and partners with communities and policymakers to design and implement policies to strengthen local economies – gave a presentation earlier this month for potential stakeholders at Antioch University New England. The purpose of her appearance was to share effective strategies focused on national local economy policies and to gain community support for the Monadnock project.
Mitchell gave an overall picture of local economies across the country and how they are affected by monopolies. Her institute's research found that $1 of every $2 spent online today goes to Amazon; at the same time, for every job gained at Amazon, two jobs are lost at a brick-and-mortar store.
But at a time when online retail giants are forcing brick-and-mortar businesses to shutter, the buy local movement continues to gain traction. One example is the re-emergence of independent booksellers – 660 new stores opened in the country over the past seven years.
And a recent impact study of the Monadnock Region found locally owned businesses return four times more money to the local economy compared to chain retailers.
Independent businesses saw a 5.1 percent increase in sales in 2014 (vs. a 2.3 percent increase in 2013) according to the latest national survey conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in partnership with the Advocates for Independent Business, which gathered data from 3,000 locally-owned business.
The same Monadnock Region impact study notes if every area resident shifted just 10 percent of their purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, it would keep $27 million annually recirculating in the local economy, generating more jobs, charitable donations and community health.
Among the strategies Mitchell said help strengthen local economies are growing local banks, creating a local investment fund, adopting business diversity policies and supporting buy local first initiatives.
Monadnock Buy Local serves as an example of these kinds of initiatives in that the organization has created partnerships with other local business alliances to instill a Plaid Friday and Shift Your Shopping Campaign every holiday season to encourage spending at locally owned and independent businesses.
The organization used Smart Growth America's Complete Streets program as inspiration for the Complete Economy Project and plans to adapt its framework to turn the project into a movement. Complete Streets, a successful program in the Monadnock Region, advocates for policies and practices that ensure safe streets for all. Smart Growth America's leadership team supports the idea and wants to stay connected as it's developed.
Monadnock Buy Local received a grant from the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to support the Complete Economy project. The first phase of work consisted of creating an outreach plan for stakeholders.
"It's important to reach out to partners and determine what measureables they're looking at," said Jennifer Risley, executive director of marketing and event planning with Monadnock Buy Local. "We're working together to come up with a baseline as something we can measure each year to see how we're doing before jumping into any one policy."
This summer, those stakeholders will review case studies, develop and implement the first policy to advocate. If the project is successful, the city will adopt the policy, followed by many others that support the local living economy. The goal is to share this model with other communities.
There is no limit to the number of partners for the project, and Risley hopes many will get involved.
"We need to use our collective power," she said.
The City of Keene wants to hear from you! What is working well? What can be improved?
Fill out this 10 question survey to let the City know your thoughts:
Take the survey today!
By Annie Card, Annie Card Creative Services
Jim and Susan Therriault opened New England Everyday Goods in October 2010. Barely 400 square-feet, the space housed the business for about a year, before they packed up and moved across the street to a 1,200-SF space in Peterborough’s Depot Square.
Then in January 2014, the couple bought an 11,000-square-foot building in neighboring Jaffrey, the former home of Coll’s Farm Stand. It was a strategic move to gain more retail space and provide a richer shopping experience, including picturesque hilltop views of fields and pasture, a windmill and a sugar house. “This is home; it’s just the perfect New England spot,” Jim said.
New England Everyday Goods is packed with thousands of items, all made in New England: wood toys, balsam pillows, glassware, pottery, soaps, cutting boards, specialty foods and more. The Farm Market occupies the same space as the original Coll’s Farm Stand, and shoppers buying produce and other fresh foods can walk just a few steps inside to NEEG.
“We don’t want people to just buy stuff. We want them to enjoy shopping here, and to feel good about what they’re buying: the quality as well as knowing their purchases are helping many small businesses to continue. We know that small businesses make better, more interesting communities than giant chain stores,” Susan said.
“Purchases at our store and other mom and pops, help keep jobs and dollars in our local economy. In the past year alone, several of our suppliers have expanded their operations and added employees. We feel good about that and our customers should, too.” Jim said.
Do you have new ideas percolating for helping our region’s downtowns to not only survive — but thrive?
The Hannah Grimes Center invites the public to attend an “Idea Jam,” a lively discussion and idea-generating session at its new co-working space called “The HIVE” at 25 Roxbury Street in Keene on May 19 from 5-7 p.m.
“The Idea Jam is meant to be a fun, casual and rapid-fire venue to generate great ideas,” says Mary Ann Kristiansen, executive director at Hannah Grimes. “In this case, the May 19 Idea Jam is focused on generating ideas that will keep the downtown hubs in our rural region vibrant places for people and commerce.”
Kristiansen noted that the collection of ideas for our downtowns that are generated during the May 19 session will come to life during CONNECT, an annual event hosted by The Keene Sentinel and Hannah Grimes Center; the theme for CONNECT 2017 is “Main Street 2.0.” This year’s CONNECT event will take place on November 8, 2017; last year’s event attracted more than 400 attendees.
“We are excited to learn what people believe our Main Streets can offer our communities in the face of great change in consumer, personal and community behavior as it relates to downtown,” says Kristiansen.
The Idea Jam will be led by R.T. Brown, “head instigator” at Brattleboro Economic Development Corporation (BDCC). “Be prepared to share your idea in 60 seconds or less,” said Brown who added that the event is not a competition. “The purpose is to start conversations, look for collaborators and contribute to a growing creative and entrepreneurial culture in area.”
After the Idea Jam, attendees are welcome to stay at The HIVE to network and start to collaborate with people who share interest in an idea. Ideas can also be shared with the CONNECT2017 team online. Regional partners in the Idea Jam include the Hannah Grimes Center, The Keene Sentinel, Machina Arts, BDCC, Live Free & Start, MAxT Makerspace, Hannah Grimes Marketplace, Monadnock Food Co-op, Arts Alive, Keene Downtown Group, Monadnock Buy Local and The Heart of New England.com.
We are hoping that some of the ideas generated during the May 19 session will come to life as installations at CONNECT, an annual event focused on innovation and hosted by The Keene Sentinel and Hannah Grimes Center. The theme for CONNECT 2017 is “Main Street 2.0.” This year’s CONNECT event will take place on November 8, 2017; last year’s event attracted more than 400 attendees.
The Idea Jam event is free but registration is required.
Monadnock Alliance for Sustainable Transportation (MAST) and the League of American Bicyclists, a national organization of bicyclists, announce that May is National Bike Month. As part of the month-long celebration, May 15 – 19, 2017 is designated as Bike to Work Week.
Join MAST for a Bike to Work Week kickoff event at Railroad Square in Keene on Monday, May 15th from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Individuals are invited to ride their bike (or walk, carpool, or take the bus) to work that day. Stop by Railroad Square to enjoy free coffee, bagels and other breakfast items, socialize with other alternative transportation advocates, and learn more about bicycling and alternative commuting in the Monadnock Region.
MAST thanks its current event sponsors: City of Keene, Elm City Bagels, Healthy Monadnock, Monadnock Buy Local, Monadnock Food Co-op, Pathways for Keene, and Southwest Region Planning Commission. Businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring this effort, by donating prizes or breakfast items, can contact Liz Kelly at email@example.com or 603-357-0557.
MAST is partnering with CommuteSmart NH to challenge residents of the Monadnock Region to “commute smart” by carpooling, walking, telecommuting, riding their bike or taking the bus. The Monadnock Commuter Challenge will be a weeklong competition that will take place during Bike to Work Week (May 15 – May 19). Participants log each smart commute using the online trip logger and compete with other individuals to win prizes. Sign up for the challenge at MAST’s Bike to Work Week Kickoff Event or online at www.commutesmartnh.org.
National Bike Month is a time to focus on the impressive benefits of commuting by bicycle –from individual health to community wealth. According to the League of American Bicyclists:
For more bicycle data, visit http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth.
The Monadnock Sustainability Network (MSN) was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative’s Solar in Your Community Challenge, a $5 million prize competition that aims to expand solar electricity access.
As an accepted participant of this national solar competition, MSN will receive a $10,000 award to improve access to solar for municipalities, nonprofits and low & moderate income households in the Monadnock region.
Over the next 18 months, MSN in collaboration with a number of local organizations plans to develop nine more Community Supported Solar (CSS) projects based on the model pioneered at the Monadnock Food Co-op (Co-op). This approach retains tax, investment, energy and labor dollars in the community while providing access to solar for those who often lack access.
“We are thrilled that our team was selected to join the challenge,” said John Kondos of MSN. “After over two years of hard work we figured out how to develop a locally owned and controlled solar project for those who were unable to go solar. Now we plan to build on that.”
MSN will join hundreds of other teams from around the country in pursuit of solar projects and programs that expand solar access to low- and moderate-income households and nonprofit organizations. All teams will compete for $1 million in final prizes, which will be awarded by judges based on each project or program’s innovation, impact, and replicability.
In honor of the third annual Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, April 29th, Toadstool Bookshops are giving away five digital audiobooks from Libro.fm, plus two incredible samplers.
Audiobooks include the #1 Indie Next Pick, The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck and David Foster Wallace's A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again.
How do you participate? Easy. Create your account here and you'll get an email reminder on April 29th to download the free audiobooks. The offer is only valid on April 29th so sign-up today!
Calling all Buy Local fans! We need your help to push Monadnock Buy Local up and over the summit of 200 members by May 1st.
As you visit locally owned businesses, work with nonprofits and visit friends, neighbors and family members who own businesses, ask them, “Are you a Monadnock Buy Local Member?” If they say yes, thank them profusely (hugs may be appropriate!). However, if they say no, ask them if they have any questions about us. To help you answer some of their questions, current Monadnock Buy Local members contributed their own answers:
Missy Blanchard of MB Massage Studio in Keene answered, “We are group of businesses who share a common business value — supporting the businesses of our friends, neighbors and community.”
We come together to encourage our community to “think local first” (and make locally-owned businesses their first choice), help our local economy grow, meet like-minded business owners and find ways to source more of our own products and services locally. We are retailers, wellness providers, architects, bankers, chefs, farmers, grocers, artists and more – and we invite you to join with us!
“Individually we are all always talking about the benefits of buying locally, but it’s often with those who are already convinced. By joining together, the members of Monadnock Buy Local have the opportunity to reach a much bigger group of people and, through our events and directory, get the attention of a growing community of people eager to support locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region,” shared Willard Williams of the Toadstool Bookshops. “We joined because we believe it is a necessary and effective way to keep our stores at their best, and, we hope, enjoyable places for locals to shop and as attractions for visitors.”
Peter Poanessa of Keene Signworx stated, “Joining with others to strengthen our local economy makes sense to me. I live here, I run my business here and my friends and neighbors live here. The last five years have been a reminder of how destructive giant businesses can be to us all. Strengthening the local economy is the only possible defense against such disruption.”
Missy added, “I joined to be a part of something that is positive and that celebrates the work and creations of our friends and neighbors. Being a member has reframed my own shopping habits. I more carefully choose where I spend my money and aim to keep a healthy percentage of what I spend at locally owned businesses.”
You can join if your business or organization is:
See who else is a member in your town and learn more about Monadnock Buy Local from them. Or learn more from Monadnock Buy Local at 603-499-7950, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It takes our whole region to help Monadnock Buy Local reach its membership summit. We appreciate your help and your individual commitment to supporting our amazing network of diverse businesses in our region, owned by friends and neighbors, and to strengthening our local economy.
Join with us today!
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431