“Saving your local economy … three stores at a time.” That’s the mantra of the 3/50 Project, an endeavor that seeks to “save the brick and mortars our nation is built on.”
Surprisingly, I first learned of the 3/50 Project at Annie’s Scandal women’s clothing store in Montrose on Honolulu Avenue. I say surprisingly because Annie’s Scandal has announced that it will be closing its doors at the end of the month – going out of business, another casualty of a shaky economy.
I had the chance to talk to Lynn over at Annie’s and she confirmed that indeed, after 11 years the store is closing its “brick and mortars” doors. She was quick to add, however, that the website – www.anniesscandal.com – will be maintained and even enhanced. Lynn said that Annie is looking to perhaps expand into home parties as well as doing special orders. She also said that, unlike some other Honolulu Avenue properties, the landlord of Annie’s Scandal is a kind gentleman who is very sad to see the store closing; it wasn’t due to an insane rent increase that other stores are experiencing that impacted Annie. Lynn said that Annie is hopeful to once again, in the future, hang a shingle outside a shop door. She’s been in business over 34 years overall, and is waiting for the day for the economy to pick up.
Perhaps if more shoppers first stopped at the Montrose Shopping Park, closures like Annie’s Scandal wouldn’t happen. The 3/50 Project promotes investing in local businesses to keep money in the hands of shopkeepers and the city in which they do business. The Project suggests stopping in three independently owned stores each month and picking a little something up; this is how many businesses stay alive.
The Project website also notes that if half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned stores, those purchases would generate a whopping $42,629,700,000 in revenue (figures based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of Feb. 6, 2009). It went on to say that for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. In a national chain, only $43 stays in the community. Online purchases don’t generate any income for the community.
Being the owner of a small business, I am eager to hire local people, from our printer to our reporters to our distributors. I take every opportunity to utilize the rich resources that are available here and have a sense of pride in providing income for those who contribute to the CV Weekly.
Many times people ask how they can support the paper. I tell them that in addition to subscribing to the paper they need to support our advertisers – they’re the ones who have made the financial commitment to the CV Weekly. And in the case of independent businesses like Annie’s Scandal (and most of those along Honolulu Avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park specifically) frequenting those businesses may make the difference between staying in businesses or having another For Lease sign posted in the window.