STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is encouraging local merchants to join a new campaign designed to lure shoppers into neighborhood stores.
In a lagging economy, the Chamber has signed on as a supporter of The 3/50 Project, a national grassroots effort to support independently owned businesses.
"The whole idea is to put money back into the local economy," according to Linda Baran, who is president of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.
Shoppers are being urged to do at least some of their buying close to home by spending a total of $50 combined between three different locations every month.
"Pick three, spend 50" is the motto of the campaign founded in 2009 by Cinda Baxter, a Minneapolis-based retail consultant.
The 3/50 Project has generated support on Main Streets across the country from small merchants who have had to compete with big-box stores.
"We're the only buy local movement that doesn't ask consumers to stop going to big boxes." Ms. Baxter has pointed out. "I understand that while you can find many things in a local business, there are some items that people will continue to go to big boxes for. We just ask them to balance their spending a little better."
On Staten Island, this could boost many independent retailers: Seventy percent of the businesses in Richmond County employ five or fewer people.
"The 3/50 Project benefits business owners and Island residents alike by helping to improve our local economy and quality of life," Ms. Baran noted.
The national movement estimates that for every $100 spent in locally owned stores, $68 remains in the local economy. That's so for only $43 of every $100 spent by shoppers doing business at chain stores.
For businesses and official supporters of The 3/50 Project, there are flyers, countertop displays and window signs being made available to promote local buying.
To participate, merchants on Staten Island can register online (www.the350project.net) and then notify the Chamber of Commerce.
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