keep it local.

A few weeks ago some friends and I headed up the road to Asheville, NC. The main reason for our trip was to meet Grace of D*S at her book signing there. We had so much fun exploring the city and checking out the shops, galleries and restaurants before we headed over to the bookstore. (If you want to see where all we went, look for more photos at Erin’s blog.)

Asheville has always had a strong ‘buy local’ movement (see examples of their campaigns below), but I was excited to see a new 'Local is the new Black’ promotion around town. Beautiful silver screenprinted posters stand out against shop windows all over town.

Various Asheville Grown Business Alliance (AGBA) Campaigns as seen around town. Photo credits clockwise from top right: alicia.pimental / briface / ello lovey / Ron Gunzburger

It’s a great reminder as we head into the holidays. Every city has independent retailers struggling to make ends meet, and we can choose to support them and our local economy with our purchases.

If you’re not sure where to start, there’s a growing movement that can help. The 3/50 Project has been very instrumental for me in demonstrating exactly what kind of impact buying local can have. From their website:

“For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that money in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.”

The basic idea behind their project is to encourage consumers to pick 3 local businesses whose doors they would be sad to see close, and commit to spend $50 (total) each month at these stores. This is a great campaign with a very worthy mission.

I’ve seen a sign online that says “If you really want to occupy Wall Street, do your holiday shopping at a small independent merchant.” While I don’t know if that’s the entire answer, it’s definitely a good start! Support your local businesses this holiday season โ€” whether that’s an artist or a restaurant or shop owner in your city. Think of creative ways to give gifts that support others in your community.