Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The 3/50 Project promotes local businesses

Rebecca Barrett of downtown Cheyenne's Link Gallery was on Channel 5 this morning promoting The 3/50 Project. She said look it up on the Internet and since Rebecca commands respect with her Brit accent and big hair, I obeyed.

The 3/50 Project has simple goals. Go to three local businesses and spend $50. The nicely-designed web site says it this way:

What three independently owned businesses would you miss if they disappeared? Stop in. Say hello. Pick up something that brings a smile. Your purchases are what keeps this business around.

It doesn't ask you to spend all of your disposable income at local stores and restaurants. Just $50. The 3/50 project site says that "if half the population spent $50 a month locally, they would generate $42.6 billion in revenue." Such a modest goal. You'll spend $50 taking your spouse out to dinner for Mother's Day. In fact, you're pretty darn cheap if you just spend $50 at your locally-owned restaurant. May I suggest some local artwork or possibly a book written by a local author?

In Cheyenne, we're challenged by a hard fact -- most of our restaurants are chains. Mom-and-pop diners and locally-owned restaurants don't seem to go over too well in Cheyenne. We have some nice ones downtown but drive along Dell Range and all you see is a conglomeration of olivegardenapplebeeschilisihopsherrys. I eat at these places. The 3/50 Project wants to me to spend some of my money at local places. I can do that.

I've been to Laramie many times lately. Downtown are Sweet Melissa's Vegetarian Cafe, Jeffrey's Bistro, Coal Creek Coffee and the Anong's Thai Cuisine which is the second of a two-restaurant conglomerate that started in Rawlins. Downtown Laramie also has two indie bookstores. Some cool little shops to buy arts and crafts and bread and all kinds of stuff. The Big Hollow Food Co-op too.

Sure, it's a college town, and its clientele may be a bit more eclectic that Cheyenne's. I live in a government and military and railroad town, crossroads of two major interstates. City of some pretty big shoulders. Rocky Mountains shoulders -- not Sandburg's Midwestern big-city variety.

Still, no matter where they live, shoulders have to eat. And shop.

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