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Business council hopes new program will keep shoppers home

Paul Eggen wants Rosemount residents to think about shopping locally. He's not asking folks not to shop at big box retailers. He just wants them to shop at local stores they don't want to see leave.

As chair of the Rosemount Area Business Council he's investigating ways for the council to promote that idea communitywide. One strategy they've found is called the 3/50 Project.

The project asks consumers to think of three independent businesses in their community they would miss if they were to close down and to spend $50 per month at each. It's a simple idea but Eggen said it could make a world of difference.

While plans on how to implement the strategy are still up in the air, Eggen said it doesn't have to be formal. Residents can just do it.

"It's an idea I think people can rally around," Eggen said.

Ruthe Batulis, executive director of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative is a simple but easy way to encourage people to support Rosemount businesses.

"It's a fun way to keep money in town," said Batulis.

According to www.the3/ for every $100 spent locally $68 will return to the community through payroll, taxes and other expenditures. Only $43 will return from money spent at a national chain.

Eggen and Batulis presented the idea to the Rosemount Port Authority June 1. Eggen said they hope to partner with the port authority to present the information to the Rosemount business community in the fall.

Eggen hopes to have the founder of the 3/50 Project, Cinda Baxter, speak at a business luncheon.

While the commission didn't make any sort of decision, Eggen said they seemed receptive to it. He expects more discussion on that level in the coming months.

Baxter is a retail consultant and professional speaker. The idea for the 3/50 Project came out of a blog post she wrote on March 11, 2009. The post received a lot of attention and the next week she put together a flyer for businesses to hand out to customers.

The idea has since caught on.

Several Rosemount businesses already have become supporters of the strategy on their own, including Magma PC and the Yarn Garage.

While he hopes the business council will be able to put together some sort of formal program, Eggen said residents and businesses don't have to wait. They support their local businesses now.

"It's all about supporting Rosemount and its businesses," said Eggen.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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