The concept behind the 3/50 Project is for consumers to think about what three independently owned businesses they would miss if they disappeared. The project then encourages them to spend a total of $50 at those businesses each month. If half the employed population did that, it would generate, according to Baxter, “$42.6 million in revenue.”
Consumer research has shown time and time again that for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 of that returns directly into the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. However, only $43 of every $100 spent in a national chain store comes back to the community and nothing comes back when people shop online.
To that end, Dedrick’s Pharmacy, PDQ, True Value and La Bella Pizza Bistro have launched a 3/50 partnership whereby they provide 10 percent off coupons to their clients for their sister stores.
“We did this to grow our clientele and businesses together, as independents in a small community,” said Michelle Harris, of Dedrick’s Pharmacy. Harris manages their jewelry and gift store, filled with many eco-friendly gifts and jewelry by local artisans.
She said that the idea was to have businesses that were “completely unrelated to each other.”
“True Value clients might not be clients of La Bella or Dedrick’s. Through these coupons we’re encouraging our clients to go to neighboring stores and providing them with an economic incentive to do so,” she said. “Someone who comes to the pharmacy or our gift store could then get a coupon where they receive 10 percent off at PDQ to ship a package or 10 percent of a pizza at La Bella or a discount on paint at True Value.”
While Dedrick’s has been a part of the 3/50 Project from the onset, “even before it went completely viral and national,” this was a way to share the knowledge of how much money is pumped back into the community when people shop locally.
“We are the dinosaurs of the retail industry,” Harris said. “Yet all of the research shows that independents are the brick and mortar of the economy, and we also offer a level of expertise and customer service that can’t be compared to the big-box giants.
“How often do you see a family-owned pharmacy in your travels? That’s what makes us special and it is what makes PDQ and True Value and La Bella and every independent business in New Paltz unique and special.”
Although they only launched the New Paltz 3/50 Project Nov. 1, Harris said it’s already taking off. “I’ve received coupons from the other three stores, and I’ve met a lot of new faces and customers. First we educate them on the 3/50 Project, why it’s important to our local economy and then encourage them to visit one of the other stores with a coupon in hand. We hope it will continue to pick up through the holiday season.”
The 3/50 Project has grown to such a degree that American Express has recently sponsored it and is offering $25 gift certificates to those who shop at independent stores on what they’re calling “Small Business Saturday.” That campaign is aimed at encouraging Black Friday shoppers to think about holding off until Saturday and do some of their shopping at local independents.
“It’s a big boon to have American Express sponsor this campaign,” Harris said. “They’re providing members of the 3/50 Project with free ad space and a link on their home page and Facebook page which is great.”
To learn more about the 3/50 Project, log onto www.the350project.net.