Monadnock Buy Local wants to thank all who participated in this year's Shift Your Shopping events and promotions:
Over 360 people in the Monadnock Region responded to this year's Plaid Friday invitation to wear plaid on November 25 to show support for our local economy and locally owned businesses. Willard Williams, co-owner of the Toadstool Bookshops, shared that three-quarters of all of his customers wore plaid!
Cider Monday, a day to counter Cyber Monday, inspired businesses from 10 states to participate. Participation was simple: serve cider to your customers on November 28 to thank them for their support.
On Giving Tuesday, Monadnock Buy Local members joined the Monadnock United Way's Giving Tuesday "Give Where You Live" campaign and helped them raise close to $6,000 on November 29.
Again, thank you -- and have a very happy New Year!
View our Plaid Friday 2016 Collage
Originally Published in the Monadnock Shopper News
Despite its current economic woes, my hometown of Rochester, NY inspires me. The city is embracing an innovative way of growing its local economy through employee ownership and local procurement.
To give you some context around the current economic state of Rochester: It holds the national record for households earning less than $12,000 a year (that’s half the federal poverty rate) and half of all its children live below the poverty level. This concentration of poverty has held steady over the past decade, and leaders are seeking a more sustainable and system-wide approach to reversing these deplorable trends.
The City of Rochester hired The Democracy Collaborative, a community-wealth building organization, to measure the potential for creating a “community-owned, cooperative business development corporation.” This corporation would serve as a support system for employee-owned cooperative businesses based in high-poverty areas of Rochester and tied to the needs of “anchor” institutions.
Anchor institutions are large nonprofits that, once established, usually stay in one place -- think of hospitals, universities and government entities. By connecting the goods and services offered by locally owned businesses to the needs of anchor institutions, both the individual businesses and the entire local economy benefit. For example, The Cleveland Model in Ohio started an employee-owned “green” laundry service in 2008 to meet the needs of local hospitals: Evergreen Cooperative Laundry.
The Democracy Collaborative’s approach to economic development focuses on seven drivers of community wealth building:
Learn more about the Democracy Collaborative.
Rochester’s next steps include developing some intriguing business ideas -- ideas transferable to the needs of our Monadnock Region institutions -- such as a local food processing facility, workforce transportation provider (like a vanpool/shuttle service) and an energy-efficiency/green construction company.
"As Rochester experiences its rebirth, it is imperative that there is a place for everyone in the new economy," Mayor of Rochester Lovely A. Warren said. "By working with the Democracy Collaborative and other local partners, we can build community wealth by creating jobs in our neighborhoods. In doing so, we'll also make our streets safer and more vibrant, and provide for better educational opportunities."
Read more about Rochester’s efforts: cityofrochester.gov/innovation.
Instead of establishing businesses like these one at a time, could the Monadnock Region -- or all of Northern New England as a whole -- create our own Cooperative Business Development Corporation to develop, promote and support employee-owned businesses? I’m inspired to explore this question -- how about you?
If you answered yes, then please consider funding your project through The Local Crowd Monadnock. The Local Crowd Monadnock is a locally based crowdfunding platform helping start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies and community-focused projects find access to capital.
The Local Crowd Monadnock is about us -- our region, our community -- and the goals we’ve created around economic development and prosperity. Learn more about The Local Crowd Monadnock and our Request For Proposals.
The Local Crowd Monadnock Proposals are due January 6, 2017.
Download our RFP
Need advice on how to Shift Your Shopping? Please, feel free to post your questions on our Facebook Page -- and get advice from our over 3,537 Monadnock Buy Local fans.
Jocelyn recently asked for tips -- check out the advice she received:
Monadnock Food Co-op is proud to announce the Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund; a new grant opportunity for local farmers through a partnership with the Cheshire County Conservation District.
The Monadnock Food Co-op Farm Fund's mission is to support local farmers in increasing sustainable food production and wholesale sales to contribute to a thriving local farm economy. This grant supports several of the co-op's goals, including a healthy, sustainable food system, the support of local farmers and producers and a strong, sustainable and improving local economy.
There will be $9,500 available for the 2017 grant cycle and a Request for Proposals is now available. Proposals are due February 1, 2017.
Funds can be used for a range of needs including the purchase of equipment or infrastructure, packaging and labeling design needs and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include farms in Cheshire County and abutting NH towns who would like to develop or expand their production for wholesale markets, including the Monadnock Food Co-op and Monadnock Menus.
"This grant fund and partnership with CCCD will allow us to provide much-needed capital for our local farm and food economy, creating an increase in the quantity of food that can be produced and consumed locally. We couldn't be happier to offer this grant fund to farmers who want to increase wholesale production." Said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager.
Tax deductible donations to this fund can be made to the Cheshire County Conservation District. Watch for additional fundraising activities at the Monadnock Food Co-op in the coming months, including the ability to Round Up your purchases to the next dollar or $5 in early 2017.
For more information on eligibility, to apply for a grant, or make a donation to the fund, please visit www.monadnockfood.coop/farmfund or call Amanda Littleton at 603-756-2988 ext 116.
Press Release: Institute for Local Self-Reliance
The report, Amazon’s Stranglehold: How the Company’s Tightening Grip is Stifling Competition, Eroding Jobs, and Threatening Communities, presents new data; draws on interviews with dozens of manufacturers, retailers, labor experts, and others; and synthesizes a broad body of previous reporting and scholarship. It’s available at http://ilsr.org/amazon-stranglehold.
“Our analysis suggests that Amazon represents nothing less than a new wave of economic dislocation and loss of local ownership following the earlier collapse of manufacturing and small businesses that devastated so many regions of the country,” said ILSR Co-Director Stacy Mitchell, who co-authored the report with ILSR Research Associate Olivia LaVecchia.
The report estimates that Amazon is now capturing nearly $1 in every $2 that Americans spend online. The company sells more books, toys, and by next year, apparel and consumer electronics than any retailer online or off. Its market power now rivals that of Walmart, and it stands only to grow. Since the summer of 2015, Amazon has more than doubled the number of distribution facilities it operates in the U.S., and it’s investing heavily in many sectors, including the nation’s $800 billion grocery market.
Amazon is more than a big retailer though. It increasingly controls the infrastructure that rival companies depend on to reach the market, making Amazon a novel and particularly potent threat to competition. By corralling a growing share of online shopping traffic — 55% of shoppers now start their searches directly on Amazon — Amazon has left competing retailers and manufacturers with little choice but to become third-party sellers on its platform. This gives Amazon the power to dictate the terms by which its competitors and suppliers operate, and to levy a kind of tax on their sales.
One consequence of Amazon’s power as a gatekeeper is an economy that is less diverse and innovative, and which affords fewer opportunities for businesses to start and grow. The report finds that Amazon is fueling a decline in the number of independent retailers, which manufacturers say is impeding product development and innovation by making it harder for new products to find an audience.
For consumers, this means less choice, as well as increasing dependence on a company that has begun to selectively raise prices, the report finds, citing other research. Amazon’s power to manipulate what products we encounter is especially concerning in the book industry, where it now commands more than half of sales, and where it can stifle the exchange of ideas simply by removing a book from its search and recommendation algorithms, as it did two years ago in its dispute with the publisher Hachette.
Even as it squeezes out small businesses, Amazon is reducing the number of jobs in the economy and driving down wages. Work in Amazon warehouses is exceptionally grueling, the report finds, and yet the company pays its fulfillment workers less than average. ILSR analyzed the company’s wages in 11 metro areas and found that Amazon pays an average of 15 percent less than the prevailing wage for other warehouse workers in the same region.
Amazon is also reducing the overall number of jobs in the economy. The report finds that Amazon has eliminated about 149,000 more jobs in retail than it has created in its warehouses, and the pace of layoffs is accelerating. Many jobs are at risk: the retail sector currently accounts for about 1 in every 8 jobs, and unlike jobs at Amazon, retail work is geographically distributed.
The report further finds that Amazon relies heavily on subcontracted temporary workers year-round, and it’s increasingly shifting work to on-demand “gig” freelancers. As Amazon expands into shipping and package delivery, it’s spreading this low-road labor model to a sector of the economy that currently employs nearly 1 million unionized, middle-income workers at UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.
Amazon’s impact on competing retail businesses, manufacturers, and workers has significant consequences for cities, including rising commercial vacancies and declining local and state tax revenue, the report finds.
Despite this, cities and states have helped finance Amazon’s expansion. The report finds that Amazon has pocketed at least $613 million in public subsidies for its fulfillment facilities since 2005, and more than half of the 77 large facilities it built between 2005 and 2014 have been subsidized by taxpayers. The report also finds that Amazon continues to benefit from a sales tax exemption in 16 states, and that its overseas tax-sheltering scheme has reduced its effective tax rate to about one-third the average paid by competing retailers.
The report concludes by sketching steps policymakers should take to check the company’s power and bring about a more competitive and equitable economy. These include beefing up enforcement of America’s long-standing anti-monopoly laws, protecting the rights of workers in the digital economy, and better accounting for the economic and community benefits of small businesses.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a 42-year-old national nonprofit research and educational organization. ILSR’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support strong, community rooted, environmentally sound and equitable local economies. www.ilsr.org.
Contact: Nick Stumo-Langer, email@example.com, 612-844-1300
Individuals, businesses and organizations based in Keene, Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Swanzey and Winchester, NH are invited to submit project proposals to a new, locally focused crowdfunding platform, called The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock. This request for proposals is available online at monadnocklocal.org/rfp. All proposals are due before 5:00 p.m. on January 6, 2017.
Crowdfunding is the process in which an entrepreneur, business or organization asks a large number of people (usually through the Internet) to contribute a certain amount of money for a specific project.
By leveraging the power of crowdfunding, TLC Monadnock's fundraising platform will help start-up ventures, early-growth stage companies and community-based projects find access to capital while creating a new way for community members to support the projects they care about.
TLC Monadnock is a collaboration of regional economic development organizations working together to cultivate a stronger ecosystem of investors, service providers and local economy champions in the Monadnock Region. For more information, visit monadnocklocal.org/tlc or contact Monadnock Buy Local at 603-499-7950.
TLC Monadnock is one of thirteen nationwide pilot sites demonstrating the effectiveness of this crowdfunding platform as an economic development tool in rural areas. This research project is managed by The Local Crowd, a Wyoming-based company, and funded by a United States Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. Learn more about The Local Crowd at thelocalcrowd.com.
Here’s a brief summary of those larger impacts:
Let’s say you love shopping online -- why not shift your shopping from Amazon to online shops managed by locally owned businesses? The Toadstool Bookshops has an incredible online book directory. Search for books at toadbooks.com, select the books you want and decide whether to pick up your purchase in-store or have it delivered right to your house or a loved one’s home (gift wrapped and ready for giving).
Other Monadnock Buy Local Members with online gift shops include Ann Henderson Interiors, Badger Balm, Beeze Tees Screenprinting, Bunny Boogie Products, Cheshire Horse, Cheshire Garden, Cogworks, Crescendo Acres Farm, Earth Sky + Water, Eight Cattails Imagery, Good Fortune Jewelry, Hike Monadnock, Holland Homestead Farm, Jack’s Crackers, Jayelay Jewelers, Jeni Skin Care, Korvin Appliance, Mother’s Hardware, Of Moose & Mountain, Poocham Hill Winery, Prime Roast, Thistle in Thyme, Wilderness Creations and Woodard Sugar House. Search this list by town or product at monadnocklocal.org/online.
Don’t forget! You can also purchase gift certificates either at a locally owned store or sometimes online. Please Shift Your Shopping and Think Before You Click!
We hope your focus is centered on family and friends, the anticipation of enjoying an amazing spread of food (featuring locally grown food) and giving thanks. However, we know other strong forces are hard at work, trying to divert your focus to “saving BIG dollars” this holiday weekend. To counter these forces, Monadnock Buy Local offers a weekend of events to encourage you to spend your time and dollars strengthening connections -- connections with your family, friends and neighbors (including local business owners and their staff) -- while reflecting on how your purchases impact others.
“Walking the path toward solutions for the crises of our day means walking back again toward connection,” said Michelle Long, Executive Director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. “So if we operate from a place of recognizing our interdependence, of caring for each other, of believing that maximizing our relationships with each other matters more than maximizing a single bottom line … we would, for instance, choose to buy from people we have a relationship with.”
Our first event, to help you build and strengthen your connections, is Plaid Friday. Wear plaid on Friday, November 25th to show your support for our local economy and commitment to buying from locally owned businesses this holiday season. It’s a day intentionally crafted to be enjoyable and leisurely.
Some Monadnock Buy Local members are serving as Plaid Friday Hubs. Hubs will photograph customers decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday and Monadnock Buy Local. Discover the closest Plaid Friday Hub to you.
Local food and craft vendors will set up tables in front of Nest :: mother child home, at 4 Grove Street in Peterborough, including Holland Homestead Farm of Hillsborough, Adorned by Becca Jewelry from Chesterfield and Fiber Artist Marianne Sanders from Keene.
Stay updated on all the Plaid Friday happenings at: monadnocklocal.org/plaidfriday.
Small Business Saturday, like Plaid Friday, is another day to remind you to “Shift Your Shopping.” Shift Your Shopping a national campaign encouraging individuals and businesses to “shift” more of their holiday gift, entertaining and dining purchases from chains to local independent businesses.
Every time you Shift Your Shopping, and spend your dollars at locally owned businesses, you give a boost to our local economy. The money you spend recirculates through our economy and generates a ripple effect -- joining with other local purchases to create new jobs, charitable contributions and more. If everyone shifted just 10% of purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, we would return $27 million to the regional economy. Now, that’s all I want for Christmas this year!
On Monday, November 28th it’s Cider Monday. Step away from your computer and pop on into participating businesses like The Toadstool Bookshops in Peterborough, Keene and Milford for a free cup of cider. In response to Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer deep discounts to divert your attention away from buying locally, Willard Williams of the Toadstool Bookshops dreamed up this new tradition.
“Customers are promised cider and smiling servers that will not crash,” shares Willard. “As always, we'll offer personal service, advice and the opportunity to touch and try items -- with no logins or passwords necessary! Join us in taking a bite out of Cyber Monday.”
View the list of locally owned businesses participating in Cider Monday at monadnocklocal.org/cidermonday.
We love to boast about the positive impacts locally owned businesses have on our community -- like how much they contribute to nonprofits. Compared to big businesses, small businesses donate more than double as much per sales dollar to charities. However, the news tends to focus on national chains and their give back programs. The Monadnock United Way is collaborating with us on #GivingTuesday, a global day of online giving. We’re working to encourage participants to give where they are and donate to locally owned nonprofits in their community. Learn more at monadnocklocal.org/givingtuesday.
Please remember that when you shop at locally owned businesses this holiday season, your purchases give a gift back to our community and local economy. The money you spend recirculates through our economy at a rate that is four times stronger when you spend your money at locally owned businesses instead of chain stores.
Due to the weather forecast on Friday in Peterborough, we're canceling this year's Plaid Friday Outdoor Photo Booth. Bummer, we know -- but Kimberly Peck will still take photos of people dressed in plaid inside her shop, Nest :: Mother Child Home.
While we hope to see you out and about -- and dressed in Plaid -- on Plaid Friday, please travel safely! If you stay home, we'd love for you to share your selfies with us (whether in plaid pajamas, shirt or scarf) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook Event Page.
Keep updated on all Plaid Friday happenings on our website
The Local Crowd Monadnock - Mailing Address: 63 Emerald St. #114, Keene, NH 03431