3/50 project keeps money local - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

3/50 project keeps money local

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  The economy may be causing you to hold on tighter to your wallet. And businesses are trying to hold tight to their customers.  

A Tifton businesswoman, inspired by Oprah Winfrey, has come up with a plan to keep shoppers with her '3/50 project.' She says the project was brought on by Winfrey when she told her audience to stop spending money on one of her shows, and ever since then it has become a struggle for local merchants to break that way of thinking.    

If you stop by the locally owned store "Additions," chances are everyone knows your name. Customer service you normally cant find at a Wal-mart or any other national chain. But think about what you would do if your favorite local stores were gone.

"I think that would be a terrible terrible thing that could happen here is this community because there are a lot of locally owned businesses in this town, first of all your not going to have that service that locally owned businesses provide over the chain stores," said Consumer Carla Jones.

This scary possibility has encouraged owner Dianne Harrell to take matters into her own hands. She says one day friends told her about the 3/50 project, and instantly she was hooked. The concept is quite simple, think of three stores that are independently owned in your area that you would miss if they were gone.

"You spend $50 per month in those stores, not $50 each but a total of $50," Dianne Harrell said. "If half the employed population spent $50 a month in local stores then that would generate $42.8 billion based on the February stats of the labor department."

Before you shop online, or at a large chain think about where your money will go after you hand it to the cashier. "For every hundred dollars that is spent in local stores then $68 of those hundred dollars stays in our local economy. If you spend that $100 in a chain store only $43 stays in our local economy if you shop online, nothing comes to our local economy.

Diane says when people shop at her store she attaches information on the 3/50 project to her customers receipts. "Were trying to get the word out there that our brick and mortar stores it what our country is founded on and they need to stop and think if we were gone all they would have left is a big chain box store is that really what they want?"

Diane has written letter to local community leaders, and is slated to speak at the Tifton merchants association meeting, and she is encouraging other local store owners to do the same.

Local shop owners say if you are worried about spending too much money, stop by a locally owned store and you may be presently surprised with the prices, plus you may also find products not carried in large retail chains.  

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