The 350 Project

In solidarity with my new friends from the International Christian Retail Show in Denver back in July, and because I’m at my wits’ end from packing all week and don’t have a creative breath left in me, I wanted to write about the 350 Project today. I first heard of this project at a local coffee shop in our new town. The motto of the 350 Project is “Saving the bricks and mortars our nation is built on.” Here’s the idea: to pick 3 and spend 50. Choose 3 local, independently-owned businesses you’d miss if they disappeared (i.e., if they had to close down.) Try to spend $50 per month in these local stores. If just half the population did that, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue. For every $100 spent, indies return $68 to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. The money you spend comes back to benefit you!

Personally, Steve and I are excited that there are no Starbucks in our new town. A Starbucks tried to set up shop in the nearest mall, and they were driven out. We’re in an area that prefers local indies! There are a few reasons we’re not Starbucks fans. Steve is still upset with Starbucks for driving his favorite coffee shop, Pasqua’s, out of San Francisco. Since I used to live in Berkeley, I have to prefer Peets coffee from Berkeley. And there’s another reason. A student at U.C. Berkeley, who worked at Peets many years ago, took all the secret roasting formulas that Alred Peet taught him to start the megachain Starbucks. He didn’t steal the secrets, but still, I’m glad I get my coffee at the place that started it all.

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