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Businesses join together to promote shopping local

Date: 4/18/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

LONGMEADOW — A group of business people from Longmeadow, East Longmeadow and Wilbraham are proposing an organization that markets the values of shopping at locally owned stores and services.

The group had its first meeting at Max Burger at the Longmeadow Shops with Kiddly Winks owner Joy Leavitt leading the meeting.

Leavitt underscored the importance of shopping at locally owned stores by referring to the research conducted nationally by The 3/50 Project. That organization concluded that for every $100 spent at independently owned businesses, $68 is returned to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures as opposed to the $43 that stays locally when $100 is spent at a chain stores.

Leavitt said a goal of the new group would be to encourage people to spend $50 a month in three local businesses. According to The 3/50 Project if half of the employed population of the country did that $46 billion would be generated in revenue.

More than 30 people attended the meeting and Leavitt said the hopes would be for the group to include businesses from East Longmeadow, Wilbraham, Hampden, Longmeadow and the Forest Park section of Springfield.

In a handout to the attendees, Leavitt wrote, "We will all do better if we work together. Local business is the tapestry of our communities. Our town would be colorless without all of us, so we need to help our communities embrace the local idea. It's a small investment with a large return."

The organization, which is now considering names and members of a steering committee, would be open to service businesses as well as retail operations.

"Anyone does a business without a store front, we really need your input," Leavitt said.

Leavitt proposed an initial activity of the group would be a multi-town sidewalk sale conducted in June. Other ideas would include mutual advertising efforts, a restaurant crawl and an art show. Using social media and e-mail to reach potential customers would also be a strategy for the group, she added.

The next meeting will be at 8 a.m. at Max Burger on May 6. Leavitt asked those who attended bring a friend who is in business.

Any questions can be directed via email to