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Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

7 Ways to Show Your Local LoveThis Valentine’s Day, show your “local love” — your love for your sweetie and your whole community — by purchasing gifts (or gift-making supplies) and meals (or ingredients) at locally owned businesses.

Locally owned businesses offer us much to love.  They strengthen our local economy, culture and well-being. Independent businesses re-circulate four times more money in our community than chain stores.  Moreover, studies show that most new jobs are created by small businesses — meaning today’s purchases are tomorrow’s jobs.

“Talk about a sweetheart gift! If every family in the country shifted $100 of their Valentine’s Day shopping budget to locally owned, independent businesses over $7.8 billion would be directly returned to local communities,” shared our friends at Independent We Stand.
Find all that you need to show your local love using Monadnock Buy Local’s searchable online directory of locally owned businesses: Find Independents.

Here are seven extra special ways to show your local love this Valentine’s Day:

  • Send a Singing Valentine with the Keene Cheshiremen Chorus: a 4-part a cappella that will sing live (and by surprise) to your sweetie.
  • Experience a romantic dinner at The Inn at East Hill Farm on February 11th at 6:00 p.m. Dinner includes appetizers, entrees and desserts for $60 a couple.  Add roses from Coll’s Garden Center and Florist in Peterborough to complete your evening. This is a BYOB event and reservations are required.
  • Enjoy a Taste of Peterborough: Valentine’s Dance and Dessert Tasting on February 13th from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at the Peterborough Community Center.  Tickets are $25 each and on sale at the Toadstool Bookshop and Steele’s Stationers in Peterborough. For more information, visit The Hope for Gus Foundation on Facebook.
  • Listen locally on February 14th at 3:00 p.m. when The Monadnock Center for History and Culture in Peterborough presents “The Faces of Love” a Valentine’s concert with pianist Virginia Eskin, mezzo-soprano Jazimina MacNeil, and guitarist Jose Lezcano.
  • If you do choose flowers for your Valentine, we encourage you to buy them from a local florist — but why not offer something more unique, like a bouquet of locally grown greens from the Farmers’ Market of Keene (open on February 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Colony Mill Marketplace) or a Flower CSA Share from Vera Flora Farm in Gilsum?

So, show lots of local love this Valentine’s Day, and the love will circle back to you, your loved ones and — best of all — your entire community.

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Yarden of Eatin'

The Farmers’ Market of Keene is currently looking for volunteers to help work the information booth during market days.

The Winter Market is open through April. February markets are on Saturday 13th and 27th. In March and April, the market is Every Saturday. It is open from 10a.m. to 1p.m. at the Colony Mill Marketplace, off West St.

We are a fun, vibrant group who grow, produce, or create what we sell. You’ll be a vital part of helping your community to value shopping locally. You’ll make like-minded friendships and learn about nutrition and craftsmanship. So, come hang out, connect to your community, and have fun!

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We are seeking help with placing market signage; setting up the information booth; running customers’ EBT, debit, and credit cards; collecting and recording market data; selling T-shirts and bags and tracking sales; taking pictures and posting on social media; and offering market information.

Please…

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Congratulations to Barb Fletcher of Chesterfield, NH — the winner of our second annual Shift Your Shopping Spree.  Barb will receive $500 in gift certificates from her choice of Monadnock Buy Local member businesses.  Her winning receipt was from Your Kitchen Store in Keene, NH.

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This contest was part of the Shift Your Shopping annual campaign sponsored by Monadnock Buy Local which encourages residents to shop at locally owned businesses during the holidays to grow our local economy and strengthen our community.  Nearly 860 receipts were collected from 327 individuals totaling $62,743 in local purchases.

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By Amy Cortese, Locavesting

In nature, pollinators like bees take the pollen from one plant and spread them around to others, creating a fertile ecosystem for other plants and animals.  No higher authority cuts the bees a paycheck to pollinate—they do this naturally.  So a pollinator enterprise is, in my view, an economic development program that shares and spreads the best of what local businesses offer, creating a fertile entrepreneurial ecosystem.  And importantly, like bees, they do this naturally, as a self-finance business, without requiring subsidies from foundations or government agencies.

Read: Michael Shuman on Pollinators, Social Enterprise and Remaking Economic Development

By Marjorie Kelly, Steve Dubb and Violeta Duncan, Democracy Collaborative

As cities wrestle with the growing challenge of wealth inequality, more and more leaders are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six such models—ESOPs, Worker Cooperatives, CDFIs, Social Enterprises, Municipal Ownership, and Emerging Hybrids—with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.

Read: Broad-Based Ownership Models as Tools for Job Creation and Community Development

 

By Olivia LaVecchia, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

One of a place’s greatest assets is its unique character, and another is its skilled residents. Luckily for cities, these strengths can reinforce each other. A recent study, published in the journal Sociological Spectrum, finds that the presence of locally owned retailers is one factor that leads residents to stay put. The authors of the study find that states with a greater share of locally owned retail experience a less-steep slope of people, especially college graduates, migrating out from their counties.

Read: New Studies Reveal 5 Reasons Policymakers Should Prioritize Local Business in 2016

 

Originally posted in the Monadnock Shopper News

About six years had passed since my last eye exam.  I knew I needed new glasses, but I put off scheduling an exam for a host of reasons.  What finally motivated me to make an appointment: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” holiday giving promotion at EyeWorks in Keene.  I got my exam and bought new glasses — while a local nonprofit received $25 of that sale from EyeWorks.

What motivated me is not unique.  Many people consider business practices, like charitable giving, when choosing what and where to buy.  Unfortunately, our perception of who is doing the giving is oftentimes skewed.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses give more time and money to nonprofits than larger companies, donating twice as much per employee to charitable organizations.

Monadnock Buy Local set out to better understand how our locally owned businesses collectively give back. We partnered with two of our members, the Monadnock United Way and the Saving Bank of Walpole, to demonstrate how much our members give.

Giving Tuesday

The Monadnock United Way calculated that Monadnock Buy Local members collectively donated over $160,000 to MUW’s fundraising campaign this year — a campaign to raise $2,019,912 to help 27 local nonprofits.  On December 1st, also known as Giving Tuesday, The Savings Bank of Walpole placed a full-page advertisement in our local daily newspaper to promote this dollar amount and the message that supporting locally owned businesses increases charitable giving in our community.  We look forward to increasing that amount of giving in 2016.

We also continue to document examples of locally owned businesses giving back this holiday season and throughout the year.  Here are three examples.

Monadnock Food Co-op

This fall, the community-owned Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene donated 240 pounds each of green beans, butternut squash and green peppers to the Southwestern Community Services (SCS) Head Start Early Sprouts Program in Keene. Kids in the Early Sprouts Program explore different vegetables throughout the year.  As they learn about a vegetable, they bring some of that newly introduced vegetable home to cook and share with their family.

The Co-op is also offering a “Round Up” program through December.  Co-op shoppers can choose to round up their transaction to the nearest dollar and their change is donated to The Community Kitchen in Keene.  As of December 29, the Co-op collected $7,398.44 dollars through this program — and the giving continues through December 31!

“We are really excited to support the great work of both the SCS Head Start program and the Community Kitchen — among many other donations we provide year round throughout our community,” shared Michael Faber, General Manager of the Co-op.  “These two organizations are doing amazing work for our community and its critical that we all support their efforts.”

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Fenton Family Dealerships

We shine our second member spotlight on The Fenton Family Dealerships that, together with their employees, supported over 75 local charities and organizations this year.  Their annual community-wide Food Drive collected five thousand pounds of food and personal care items (and they are currently holding an internal food drive to collect more) and their golf tournament raised over $35,000 for The Community Kitchen.

This level of giving earned Fenton Family Dealerships “The Spirit of Monadnock Award” from the Monadnock United Way this year.  This award is “reserved for the organization and its employees who best exemplify the spirit of our region through a culture of strong commitment, positive attitude and demonstration of continued broad-based support for the community and the Monadnock United Way.”  Congratulations to Fenton Family Dealerships!

“Giving back to the community is something that Fenton Family Dealerships has believed in from its inception nearly 30 years ago,” said Bob Swartz, CEO of Fenton Family Dealerships.  “We give back to the people and community that help support us.”

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Deep Roots Massage

Our final charitable giving highlight is Deep Roots Massage in Keene.  This holiday season, they are donating 10% of all gift certificate sales to the Monadnock United Way. Last year, this program raised $5,000.   Annually, Deep Roots donates 2% of their sales to local nonprofits dedicated to heath, human services and the arts.
247775_529914403734593_2093982942_nThere are many more charitable giving efforts led by our members, but also keep in mind that donations are just the beginning of what our locally owned business give back.

“Local merchants are more than providers of goods and services,” states Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance. “They often take a leadership role in community affairs. Many chair neighborhood organizations, host cultural events, or organize local festivals.”

Before we wrap up this last article of the year, I want to thank you all for giving more this year, both in terms of your own charitable giving and spending more of your dollars at locally owned businesses.  Thank you and happy New Year!

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