I have recently received information about a new campaign in the US seeking consumers to expend more money in local independent shops and businesses. This one is called «The 3/50 Project»and pretend to involve US residents in spending $50 in 3 local independent shops each month. Indeed, the promoters argue that «If half of the employed population spent that money in locally owned independent businesses it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue (…) For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.».
Forgetting about whether it is $68 or less what gets spend in local economy, what sounds convincing is that it could be better to spend at least part of our money at local stores instead of at more global retail chains or franchises. That could be a smart choice if we are concerned about generating local social and economic well-being.
Here is a video about the initiative, though you could find many more organizations (such as The National Trust of Historic Preservation orThe Federation of Small Businesses in the UK) that are trying to drive consumer’s attention to those issues:
In my opinion that can be a big issue for cities in the near future if it is not already. Downtown commercial districts are increasingly homogenized. Diversity and choice get threatened, and -what maybe worse- benefits of consumer spending fall into the hands of ‘big players’. In other words, more euros or dollars in fewer -outsiders- hands: growing inequalities, loss of jobs and even worse working conditions specially for low-skilled employees are just some of the challenges we might be currently facing…