The holiday season is upon us. As you’re reading this, you’re likely in the middle of turkey overload (or turducken overkill – yes, I know a real bird lover who actually cooked a turducken this year). This is traditionally the first big weekend in the holiday shopping season. We’ve already seen the advertising overkill that accompanies the late fall (and manages to cheapen all of our favorite holiday music). And then, there are those trips to the malls and big box stores to prolong the sensory overload…

Before you take that trip to the mainland and enrich some mega-conglomerate-mart, before you send your credit card information through the ether to a dot-com, take some time and consider this column. Think about how your holiday shopping dollars will be used and whom they will enrich. This year more than ever, think seriously about shopping locally and keeping those dollars here in our hometown.

Earlier this year, I was turned onto a concept called The 3/50 Project. In March of this year, retail consultant Cinda Baxter came up with the idea after watching Oprah and some financial channel talking heads discuss our economic woes. In a nutshell (and in her own words), here is the essence of The 3/50 Project:

“Think about which three independently owned businesses you’d miss most if they were gone. Stop in and say hello. Pick up a little something that will make someone smile. Your contribution is what keeps those businesses around.

“If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Imagine the positive impact if 3/4 of the employed population did that.

“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, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.”

There’s another financial adage that states that a dollar spent locally circulates at least seven times in the community. It’s not just about supporting a local business. It’s also about supporting our local workforce and the businesses they patronize, supporting our community through local sales and infrastructure taxes, and keeping our local economy healthy. Think about this: would you rather see your shopping dollars helping out people here in the Keys, or sucked away to a distant corporate office? The choice is ours to make. I vote Local. You can find out more about this real one-woman grassroots effort at

And you can help our community by keeping your dollars flowing locally.


Special thanks to all those who came out and made the City of Marathon’s 10th Birthday celebration a wonderful event. Hopefully, there will be a Marathon celebration every year! There are way too many people to thank; I would, however, like to mention some very special people who were the heart and soul of our little event committee: Mayor Ginger Snead and former Mayor Jeff Pinkus. The three of us were there from the beginning, and now that the event is history, I can say that it wouldn’t have been the success it was had it not been for their efforts. Great party – see you next year!

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