I recently came across this site and it has made my small business heart sing. I truly believe that small business is the backbone of our country. Independent brick & mortar stores need to survive. I have nightmares of becoming extinct all the time.
Cinda Baxter, a retail consultant has a great idea on how to save mom & pop’s:
-Pick 3 small businesses that you like
-Spend $50 a month
-Bingo..you have saved the local economy
The Founder of the 3/50 Project estimates that $68 for every $100 spent locally returns to the community through taxes, payroll and such. Compare that with $43 if you spend on a national chain, and the big whopper? Spend it ONLINE….and NOTHING comes home. It makes sense to me, how about you?
Here is a press release for the 3/50 Project and here’s hoping that small businesses survive.
Former Retailer Provides Her Own Economic Stimulus Plan for Main Street
The 3/50 Project unites small business and consumers in stabilizing their local economy
Minneapolis, MN, March 19, 2009 — Having been an independent stationery store owner for
fourteen years, Cinda Baxter understood the pain felt by retailers when the economy sank and
consumers held back. What began as an economic downturn in the autumn had become a
psychological tsunami by March 1st.
What the country needed, in her opinion, was a meeting of the minds between two groups that
held valuable stakes in the game—small business owners and members of their communities.
Enter The 3/50 Project.
With a tag line “Save your local economy three stores at a time,” the Projectʻs goal is to promote
shopping in locally owned businesses while thanking customers for the positive impact that
decision has on a local economy.
“Weʼre constantly inundated with doom and gloom,” says Baxter, now a retail consultant and
professional speaker. “The system is broken, the banks are frozen, the economy is bleeding.
Thatʼs all we hear. The images painted by the media are ghastly and devoid of hope. What we
need—what we crave—as a nation is to pinpoint areas where positive change can occur, then
feel good about having promoted them.”
By early March, sheʼd decided enough was enough, and that it was time to give retailers
ammunition to fight back with. Rather than get tangled in complex messaging and deployment,
Baxter combined a straightforward theme, a free flyer, and her blog as the mechanism to launch
The 3/50 Project.
“We ask consumers to think about which three stores theyʼd miss if they disappeared, then
remind them to return there,” explains Baxter. “Shoppers have become so rooted in thinking
about the essentials that theyʼve forgotten about the little gift store on the corner whose owner
remembers their name.”
“Fifty comes from the idea that if even half the employed population spent a mere $50 per
month in locally owned retail stores, those purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in
revenue,” she continues. “Thatʼs a huge impact for a relatively small investment.”
Which leads to a third number on the flyer, sixty-eight—the dollar amount that remains in a
communityʼs economy for every $100 spent in locally owned stores. By contrast, only $43 per
one hundred remains local when spent in national chains; little or no revenue results from online
“In essence, the whole thing boils down to ʻPick 3, spend 50, save the economy.ʼ Itʼs really that
– more –
Since ease of use was key to store owners jumping on board, Baxter designed a free flyer for
participants to download, print on any color printer, then hand to consumers with their
purchases. “The idea is to look customers in the eye, put this right in their hands, and say ʻthank
you for shopping in a locally owned storeʼ rather than just pop these in the bottom of a bag and
hope someone sees them.”
Within 24 hours of providing the link on her blog, things began to light up. Retailers were sharing
the flyer with other businesses. Property managers were spreading the news to tenants. Thank
you notes were arriving via email every hour. Trade publications and blogs were asking about
guest posts and columns promoting the plan, and a movie theater requested a copy large
enough to display on their screens for waiting audiences to view.
“The best part about 3/50 is that itʼs so down to earth, so straightforward, so accessible,” reflects
the enthusiastic champion of independent retailers. “This is a labor of love that store owners and
customers can share.”
Given the level of interest, a dedicated website has been established to promote the movement,
link to the free flyer, and list participating retailers and other supporters. It can be found at
About Cinda Baxter:
Cinda Baxter understands retail from the inside out. Her commitment to exceeding customer
expectations resulted in two national Retailer Excellence Awards and frequent press coverage
ranging from Minnesota Monthly to Modern Bride. Today, she “pays it forward” to both retailers
and vendors through her consulting company Always Upward, as a Contributing Editor for Gifts
and Decorative Accessories Magazine, and as founder of The 3/50 Project.
Widely recognized as an expert in the gift and stationery industry, Cindaʼs resumé includes
seats on some of its most distinguished advisory boards: AmericasMart Atlanta, the National
Stationery Show, Retailer Networks Incorporated, and the Gift and Home Trade Association
(GHTA), where she also served on the Board of Directors. Her most recent appointment to the
Gift for Life Board of Directors is of particular note. Sheʼs been a featured speaker at numerous
trade shows, including the Hong Kong Gift and Premium Show, the New York International Gift
Show, the Los Angeles Gift Show, and the National Stationery Show—and at several regional
marts, including Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. Whether addressing an audience of
independent retailers or international business leaders, her focus remains constant—creating
As founder of acclaimed online communities RetailSpeaks (independent gift and stationery
retailers) and Brilliant Ink (professional stationers dedicated to original design), Cinda is
considered a pioneer of social networking in the retail industry—a reflection of her passion to
help community based business survive and thrive for years to come.