buy indie in ypsi for the holidays

Last year at about this time, the YpsiVotes gang held a community forum on downtown business and what we, as members of the community, could do to help keep our locally-owned stores here and thriving. The session was well received and productive, and a lot of cool things came out of it. One of the best was that a friend of mine named Karen, motivated by what she’d heard and seen that evening, put together a a flyer encouraging people to do their holiday shopping locally. (That link will load a pdf.) The flyer named all the local businesses that we could think of, and grouped them into categories, like “antiques,” “clothing/jewelry/shoes,” “candy/novelty,” and “home goods.” We then distributed the flyers around town, and, through this site, began asking our friends and neighbors to take a “Buy local” challenge and do all of their holiday shopping here in Ypsi. The mayor agreed to do it, as did at least a few dozen other people. And, City Council agreed to name a “Buy Local Week.”

Well, Karen’s moved away now, and I’d like to keep the initiative going. And, toward that end, I’d like to enlist the help of a few volunteers. First, we need a group of folks willing to update the flyer. Then, we need help designing and printing them. And, finally, we need help distributing them and getting the word out. There are all kinds of other things we could do, like have a webpage where people could sign a “Buy Local for the Holidays” pledge, but we can worry about all of that after we get the basics taken care of.

So, if you’re up for helping out, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll track you down once a time and a date for meeting has been set.

Ideally, we’d get this up and running just after Thanksgiving so that it’s in full swing by the time the Shadow Art Fair rolls around on December 1.

[note: For those who would like to know more about why locally owned businesses are important, my post on Michael Shuman is probably a good place to start.]

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11 Comments

  1. Lisa
    Posted October 1, 2007 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Good timing, Mark. Think Local First is actually doing a County-wide pledge (probably with a website) for the holidays, and would love feedback/help doing that, and customizing it so people could say ‘not only am I supporting locally owned businesses, but I’m supporting Ypsilanti locally owned businesses first. Buy Local Week is Dec 1st through 8th, and currently we’re thinking of asking people to support locally owned businesses in all their shopping for this week (not just holiday shopping, but discretionary spending too.). I’d love to come to a meeting – just let me know when it is.

  2. Posted October 1, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Let me know too. Last year’s Indy in Ypsi got a lot of great coverage and a lot of people actually thinking about where to buy their Christmas gifts at. If we could build on last year we’d have another phenomenal year.

    I get many requests for lists of local businesses from both residents as well as potential/existing business owners. I’ve found that the lists I have are pretty out of date. I just don’t have the time to walk around town and catalog all the businesses in Downtown, Depot Town, West Cross, etc. with their business type, whether they’re independent or not, etc. If we could get a comprehensive list together, I could ensure that an intern and/or I keep the list current. That’s something fairly easy to do once you get a good base. It’s something that would be of value to a lot of people in town, including me.

    The DAY, DTA, TLFWC and Chamber all have lists. That would give us a good start. We could share info with each other and/or cross promote the orgs. EMU’s Eagle Discount Program could likely provide some support as well. They’ve plateaued on businesses registering for the program and there’s no reason a business in town shouldn’t join the program since there’s no cost and/or tracking to them but the cost of the discount they choose to give.

    Keep me in the loop.

  3. Posted October 2, 2007 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I’m in – I’ll shop in Ypsi this year. Who wants a sweater from Kohl’s anyway?

  4. Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I am definitely willing to help out. I have a folding machine for my menus that we used last year to to fold the flyers. I am sure Forrest would be happy to distribute flyers around town.

  5. Amanda
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    yep, i’ll help. i posted a number of things on downtown ypsi’s blog last season, as i found some interesting non-traditional ypsi holiday gifts… and most of them went over super well!

  6. mark
    Posted October 2, 2007 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic! I’m glad to hear you’re all onboard. I’ll be in touch soon with details.

    Anyone else want a piece of the action?

  7. Posted October 4, 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Of course I’m in.

  8. Posted October 4, 2007 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I’m interested, of course.

    I’d encourage this project to include an ArborWiki-presence – it’s a good way to get basic info about businesses in a Google-friendly format (especially for those businesses that don’t have webpages of their own), helping expand the potential audience beyond those of us near enough to pick up a flyer.

    See, e.g., Bombadill’s Cafe on Arborwiki.

  9. Lesley
    Posted November 5, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Count me in Mark! I would love to help with getting the word out. I was thinking it would be cool if we could put together a catalog, or at least a listing, of some “featured” products from participating businesses, so that people can see some of the great retail products that are available in Ypsi. We could also encourage the purchase of restaurant gift certificates, too. Or we could solicit businesses for items to include in an Ypsi Gift Basket – I’d be willing to help package them up. After the businesses are paid for their piece of it, additional proceeds could be split between DTA and DAY, or go to a charity, or whatever. As you can see, I’m full of ideas, some of which may need to be put off until next year… Let me know when you plan on getting together.

  10. mark
    Posted November 12, 2007 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    If anyone wants to get together to discuss this in person, I’m thinking about calling a meeting Wednesday evening at Cafe Luwak… At about 6:30.

  11. mark
    Posted November 12, 2007 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    New plan… We’re now looking at doing this at 5:30 this Wednesday, November 14, at Luwak.

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