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I first heard about the 3/50 project from my friend Judy, who is also my source for all things topical since I don’t watch the news.  I should say, my sole televised news source is Jon Stewart, so Judy is in good company.  The 3/50 Project is a grass-roots effort to save local economies, three stores at a time.  Now Judy lives on the West Coast, where things often happen a”few” years before they meander their way to Ohio…  at least that was the case with smoothies.

But shortly after Judy’s post, I was visiting my family in Wisconsin and made my annual pilgrimage to my favorite coffee shop in WI, Mud Creek Coffee.  Mud Creek opened a couple years ago, and I was delighted but dubious that the concept could make it in a small town in today’s economy.  Every time I drive up there and Mud Creek is still open, I always stop and frankly just want to throw buckets of money through the drive-through window and say “Please make it!” because it is such a cool little coffee shop and I would be sad if it was gone.

Which is exactly the idea behind 3/50.

On this last trip, my Dear Sister and I went to Mud Creek for a relaxing afternoon break and what did I find on the counter but a flyer for the 3/50 Project.  So I figure, if the concept made it there already, it is time for my town to get on board!

So, here is the premise of the 3/50 Project:

1.  Pick three independently owned (brick and mortar) local businesses you’d miss most if they were gone.

2.  Commit to spending $50 a month at these three businesses (that’s $50 total, NOT $50 each…)

3.  Help save your town’s independent stores, one person at a time.

Now don’t get me wrong — I enjoy the immediacy and ease of on-line shopping, big box store bargain-hunting (I am a Costco addict), and all the other many chains that make shopping and eating out so convenient.  I know that at this point there is no way that the majority of my family’s expenditures can be sourced through local independent vendors.  But $50 a month of money I was going to spend somewhere else anyway?  That I can do.  It’s easy and just feels right.

So, here is my list to start on September 1st:

1.  Tazza Mia Coffee (which I do think is the freshest and best tasting coffee in town.)

2.  Troy’s Cafe (a gem of a restaurant with innovative, fun, affordable food in a relaxed atmosphere.)

3.  Ace Hardware (I know Ace is a chain, but this is the [last?] little, local hardware store around here, one with every little doohickey and thingamabob for fixing things, and a cute Grandpa-guy clerk who knows where everything is on the tightly packed shelves.)

There.  I had to try hard to keep all three choices from being food-related.

So that’s my plan.  I would love to hear what three businesses you would pick, and, dear readers, if you are willing to give it a try…