For the past couple of years, I’ve heard Groupon extol the virtues of their daily deals email system, repeatedly waving the “we’re all about locally owned brick and mortars” flag. Well folks, my blood’s boiling right now–that flag needs to be planted on someone else’s planet.

From Saturday’s Groupon email for the Minneapolis-St. Paul market (click the image to see full scale):

Strike one: Redeem online? What happened to Groupon’s claim they’re all about driving traffic through local doorways?

Strike two: The merchant is located in El Segundo, California–half way across the country from Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Strike three and call-your-agent-you’re-finished: The presumed storefront retailer actually isn’t. The street address given on her website points to a printing company, showing her as an “affiliate.” The phone number on her website is located in Redondo Beach, five miles from where the printer is—and not associated with any physical storefront I’ve been able to find after exhaustive online searching.

Translated? I’ll bet my bottom dollar this California e-tailer is a home-based business. Not exactly the local brick and mortar flag Groupon likes to wave.

Making matters worse, check out the side bar offer for the custom alphabet frame. Yup. You guessed it. That one’s located in Tennessee.

Groupon didn’t just drop the flag. They tore the thing to shreds, then buried it in the back yard.

As for where that back yard’s located, well…. The definition of “local” is apparently up for negotiation.



Yet again, I’ve been caught cringing when someone extols the virtues of “buy local.”

If that hasn’t shocked a few of you, well…nothing will. For those of you on the floor, please take a deep breath, rally around, and hear me out. Pretty sure you’ll end up agreeing with me in a moment. [click here to continue…]


3-50-project-logo_500px2Well, can’t say you aren’t doing your part to spread the news.

Thanks to a whole lot of folks who believe in independent businesses and local communities, The 3/50 Project went into high gear yesterday, starting with the Gifts and Dec e-newsletter that so graciously included a piece about us (without me asking, bless their hearts). Next, I learned that Home Accents Today blogger, Mike Landfair, ran a piece too.

Suddenly, things lit up. Thanks to a plethora of bloggers, Twitter users, and a very steady stream of new supporters landing in my inbox, The 3/50 Project has grown legs and is running like a marathon pro. [click here to continue…]


3-50-project-logo_500px2I knew people would like The 3/50 Project, but holy cow….you guys are spreading the word even faster than I thought. Verrrry cool, folks.

As a thank you, I have a couple of treats in the pipeline, just for you. [click here to continue…]


3-50-project-logo_500px2You emailed…you asked…you shall receive.

I’ve created bag stuffers a flyer for The 3/50 Project that can be easily printed on any color printer, from an $80 desktop to an $8,000 press. Just print, cut in half, and start slipping them into your customers’ bags.

Or better yet, hand them to your customers WITH their bags, with a big smile and personal thank you for shopping in your store. Who doesn’t like to be thanked for doing something nice, after all?

The bag stuffer flyer can be found online by clicking here.

Related posts:

Seth Godin mentions The 3/50 Project
Save the economy three stores at a time
Let’s get The 3/50 Project on the Today Show
Oprah, you’ve got it wrong
CNBC host Erin Burnett reminds us the battle is about more than just money
Enough with the carnage
The 3/50 Project grows legs
Want to be a 3/50 Project rock star?


sholoAs you know from last week’s post, I am bursting-at-the-seams-proud of an Indiana “shop local” project appropriately named ShoLo. They stand as a shining example of just what can be done when community business owners pull together.

According to Joya Helmuth, owner of Spark Fine Stationery, the seeds were sewn during a regular meeting of the Women in Retail Group (facilitated by the Small Business Development Center). She shared customers’ comments about their preference for locally owned businesses, then suggested members of the group “capitalize on it as a way to differentiate ourselves from national/chain stores. If it’s important to our customers, we should shout it from the rooftops!”

By the time the meeting ended, Joya had a partner in crime—Rebecca Maalouf, owner of Camelia, The Makeup Store. Within three months of launching, ShoLo had swollen to fifty members.

Recently, I asked Joya and Rebecca about their experience setting up ShoLo, and what advice they had for other retailers hoping to do the same. [click here to continue…]


A Buy Local campaign that rocks

by Cinda Baxter on March 6, 2009

in Local, Marketing

sholoNow this is what I’m talkin’ about, folks.

Remember my earlier post listing ten ways to set yourselves apart from home based resellers? Take another look at number three on the list. The one about banding together with fellow retailers, combining your resources to gain better visibility. Yeah. That one.

Well, lemme tell ya, there’s someone out there doing it, and doing it well. [click here to continue…]

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The $50 Retail Challenge

by Cinda Baxter on February 23, 2009

in Economy, Local

50billIndependent retailers, you have a champion in Canada. Ironically, it’s someone from the ecommerce world who understands the importance of supporting local brick and mortars.

In a nutshell, the Retail Challenge (as she calls it) asks consumers to think long and hard about what will happen to their local economies if they don’t keep their hard earned dollars invested there. Here’s the grand plan: [click here to continue…]