Helping Your Hometown Stores


The economy has everyone on edge. People are working fewer hours, losing their jobs and worrying about how to make ends meet. At the same time there are expenses, things we can’t live without, and there are shops we know and enjoy. How will they survive and how can we help?

The 3/50 Project offers one possible solution that each of us may be able to buy into—even a little will help.

First, they suggest that each of us look around our community and determine three “locally owned and independent businesses” that we want to be sure are open and in business a year from now. It could be a restaurant, hardware store, pharmacy, gas station, florist, grocery store or market, dry cleaner, lumber yard—any locally owned business that you value and want to be sure is still here in 2010.

Next, make a point of going to those three businesses every month and spending at least $50 at each one. If you can’t spend $50, spend what you can.

One study commissioned by the Andersonville Development Corporation (Andersonville is a small community located on the north side of Chicago.) found that locally owned businesses generate 70% more local economic impact per square foot than chain stores. The study further “found that spending $100 at one of the neighborhood’s independent businesses creates $68 in additional local economic activity, while spending $100 at a chain produced only $43 worth of local impact.”

Big box stores may appear “cheaper,” but at what cost. Locally spent money is an investment and it has a greater chance of coming back to you in payroll, taxes, utilities, locally purchased goods by that store and in contributions to your church, the Lions, T-Ball and others.

For more information, go to;; and (search for case study).

Kathy Johnson

Letters reflect the opinions of their authors and not necessarily those of the Crozet Gazette.


  1. Part of the reason for this is that big box stores – like HT – hire staff from outside the community. Two managers I’ve talked with at HT aren’t from anywhere near Crozet.
    One dept. manager told me she’s from Richmond!
    Hardly local community …

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