You get what you measure. That is, anything you actually go to the trouble to keep records on, you will pay more attention to and likely improve. If you make yourself write down everything you eat, you’ll find yourself feeling accountable. You’ll actually eat less or eat better things so you won’t be embarrassed to write them down.
If you actually wrote down on your calendar the dollar amount of every purchase you made locally, you’d start to find excuses to buy local, just so you could write it on the calendar. You’d find yourself trying to increase your weekly or monthly totals, if you tracked them.
So why not get everyone in town doing that? Start a campaign to get people to write on their calendars every local purchase.
Help me brainstorm more ways to make something of this:
- Encourage them to report in weekly on your Facebook page.
- Print up an info sheet and put it in with the free advertising calendars that the bank and co-op give away.
- Work with the bank and co-op to get custom calendars for next year that provide a special place for weekly and monthly totals.
- Work with merchants to get every retail clerk to remind everyone every time they make a purchase, “Don’t forget to write this on your Buy Local calendar.”
When we brainstormed this over on Google +, more good ideas came out:
John Blue suggested:
“Hand out local badges to customers, like badges of honor, showing support of local purchase.”
You could extend this to be stickers. Then clerks could hand customers a sticker to put on their calendar.
Justin McCullough suggested:
“Could do a local map like a monopoly board game, with local merchants in the squares for park place, board walk etc, and shopping there, the merchant signs you off for their location. Get signatures in all locations and get prizes and special raffles and be on the buy local hall of fame at the chamber of commerce or something.”
Vikki Baptiste suggested:
“I was also envisioning some kind of a punch card system, more like a “calendar punch” – but then it would have to be more of a pocket calendar than a wall calendar. Could you maybe offer rewards for Most Consistent Local Shopper, something like a FourSquare perk? Have a “Local Shopper of the Month” award, with prizes donated by local businesses?”
There are a lot more shop local ideas in our Shop Local Campaigns for Small Towns ebook.
PS – Invite Becky to speak
If you have an event in the works that calls for an expert speaker (an expert is someone from at least 50 miles away, right?), I have openings on my calendar and I am at least 50 miles from most of you. I can’t solve your problems for you, but I can help pass along some of what we talk about here. Communities have had me come in to keynote annual meetings, tourism conferences, and economic development events. Sometimes, a group of communities has banded together to bring me in. I only do one of these trips per month, so if you’re interested, stop by my rural speaking page.
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Vince Adams says
Here in Corvallis, Oregon buying local is an important part of our economic culture. The Corvallis Independent Business Alliance sponsors an ongoing program called Buy Local First. Every holiday season CIBA puts on a contest for the person who can make the most purchases from local merchants (the dollar amount isn’t a factor). There are three winners and they are recognized and receive prizes at a public meeting. Take a look: http://sustainablecorvallis.org/action-teams/economic-vitality/buy-local-first/
Becky McCray says
Vince, thanks for sharing that program. Sounds like something any community could adapt and use.
Marion Leadbetter says
I love using local businesses and small family companies, we work with a lot of small stores and family start ups and I think if we all just put a little bit back in by using the smaller local retailers then it benefits our community as a whole :)
D Grey says
Hi Becky, What great ideas. Last year I tweeted every Friday asking followers to tell me what local / small business they supported this week and also posted on my Facebook page the same thing. I plan on starting it back up soon.