Buy Local... Shop Champaign

For Every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, $43 stays here. Spend it online, and nothing comes home.

What is the 3/50 Project?

The City of Urbana is a supporter of buying locally--in Champaign County. The Champaign County  Chamber, City, and County have been promoting "Buy Local...Shop Champaign" for the past four years. This summer, the Chamber discovered a new movement--the 3/50 Project, founded by Cinda Baxter, that supports our efforts in buying local. Presently, the Community Development Office for the City is working with the Chamber in a stronger promotion to help our local economy.

In a nutshell, The 3/50 Project was created to build revenue for independent brick and mortars, not large companies or national brands.

The 3/50 Project is asking that we spend $50 in locally owned businesses per month. So pick three stores that you would hate to see leave the area, commit yourself to spending a total of $50 in those stores per month, and help keep your hard earned dollars inside Champaign County.  Click here for more information about the 3/50 Project.

How Did the 3/50 Project Begin?

As many great things do...by accident.

The first week in March 2009 sowed the seeds for what would later become a firestorm—

Monday: Oprah does a show instructing consumers to stop spending money on anything that was non-necessity.

Tuesday: CBS News reports that “Consumer spending drives 70% of the economy. When consumers put their wallets away, the economy has trouble making a U-turn.”

Friday: In a guest spot on the Today Show, Erin Burnett from CNBC talks about how psychology plays into the economy and the importance of innovation in times of difficulty.

Sunday: Erin’s back, this time on Meet the Press, chiding the national media for taking negative hyperbole into the stratosphere.

Some frequently asked questions:

Does the 50 in 3/50 mean as a consumer I need to spend $150 total each month? No...well, not unless you want to (which would undoubtedly be fine with independent business owners). The idea is to commit $50 each month to locally owned businesses, total. Maybe that means rethinking where you currently invest your money, opting to pick up that birthday card or pair of jeans in a locally owned business instead of the big box you’ve been going to. Or maybe it means eating out once a month because you realize slamming the brakes on all spending stalls economic recovery. It’s just that simple.

Are you asking me to completely swear off chains, and franchises?  The 3/50 Project isn’t an “all or nothing” campaign that insists consumers stop shopping in chains or franchises. Instead, our message is about balance-—of the money you currently spend each month, we simply ask you to redirect an affordable $50 back to the locally owned independent businesses that have been forgotten of late.

Just as there are things in a locally owned store that you can’t find in a big box, there are also things in a big box you can’t find in a locally owned store. We simply need to think about where our dollars are best invested, consider the greater amount of revenue local businesses return to the community, then purchase accordingly. Otherwise, local economies suffer irreparable harm.