New movement helping local economies across U.S.

By Donna McCollum
Posted By Molly Reuter - bio | email

NACOGDOCHES (KLTV) - Buy local campaigns are often isolated within a city limits, but now there's a build your local economy movement going nationwide.  The word is spreading through the Internet, and Nacogdoches is the latest city to join a free service designed to keep independent retailers afloat.

Stain glass artist Teresa Darby knows she has to work harder for customers than the big box store down the road.

"I don't have anything in my store that people need," said Darby.  "All I have are wants."  The challenge causes many independent retailers to close down shop.  The 350 wants to change that.

"Basically what it is, is encouraging individuals and businesses to recognize the importance of independently owned retail establishments, and to go out and challenge them to go out and spend $50.00 a month at each different establishment," said Nacogdoches Main Street Director Sarah O'Brien.

Here's how it works: Pick three favorite independently owned businesses you'd miss most if they were gone.  Spend $50.00 between the three once a month and help save your local economy.

"What really happens is with an independent is they put so much more money into the local economy because their money stays here," said Peggy Muckelroy with the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation.  According to employment statistics, there's a local return of about $68.00 when $100 is spent with independents.  When you shop with a national chain the local return drops to $43.00.  What's unique about this shop local campaign is it does not place cities in competition with one another.  Quite the contrary.  It unites independent retailers across the region and the nation.

Darby says independent retailers must stick together in order to keep customers coming through the doors.

"The local concept of shopping locally, of being served by people that they know, and supporting it means a lot to me," said Darby.  It's a grassroots effort spreading at cyberspace speed.

To learn more about the 350 project, go to our homepage and click on The Big Red Box.  There you will find 350 Project.

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