Jay DiLisio, a candidate for Attleboro City Council at Large, has embraced “The 3/50 Project," a national project that voluntarily links small retail businesses to customers in ways, he says, can save local businesses and make a positive impact in local communities.
Approximatley 74 people asked about the project at a kickoff for his campaign held a few weeks ago, he says.
Of the project, which started two years ago and has spread to many communities throughout the country, he sums it up like this: “Pick 3. Spend 50."
“Pick three locally-owned businesses you’d hate to see disappear and make a pledge to spend to $50 per month," he says. "It does not have to be $50 per business, just a total of $50 on any one or all of the three businesses per month.”
Does it work?
“The project is big, successful and growing in many neighborhoods around Boston,” he responds. “I think it can work here (in Attleboro) because West Roxbury is similar to Attleboro in many respects.”
DiLisio cites statistics to show why it works. “For every $100 that is spent in locally-owned business, $68 returns to the community,” he says. “When spent in a big box, chain, or franchise, $43 remains. Purchases made by mail order or online return nothing.”
In his capacity as an assistant vice-president at Bank of America in West Roxbury, DiLisio sees both sides of the coin. “A majority of my clientele are small businesses, so I deal with everyday people and their spending habits on a daily basis," he says. "But, I know how difficult it is for consumers to be able to afford to buy anything on their budgets.
"And it is difficult for businesses in this kind of economy," he adds "So this is intended to build loyalty and increase revenue for independent, locally-owned businesses.”
When asked about this project, a few owners and managers of small retail businesses are at least intrigued by the possibility of being involved. Several never heard of the project and declined comment until they found out more. Other business people had no interest in even hearing about the plan.
One local businessman, Charlie Falugo of The Bedding Center on Pleasant Street, is already aware of the project from a woman who stopped intro the store recently. “I like the idea because whenever we can get someone to step inside our store we are happy, because our prices are very low and when they find us they’re happy, too.”
Falugo wants to carry the concept a bit further to institute a local business-to-business network, something he already has done on a micro-local scale, at least. “We buy regularly or have used the services of Kull Office Supply, RJ Auto, Tim Holt, a local welder and Lambco Appliances,” he says. “This is a win-win situation for businesses because we are comfortable that whatever we pay or whenever we deal with other businesses, we feel comfortable it will be reciprocated.”
Ron Carlson, service manager at Union Cycle, says he can not speak for the owner but is intrigued and would look further into it. “As a consumer I do not want to feel pressured to buy anything,” he says.
Ron Carlstrom, a designer at Flowers by the Station, says, “I think the idea is pretty neat and a promising concept. But I just want to check it out more and talk to the owner about it.”
“There is no pressure for anyone to join,” says DiLisio, who notes no Attleboro business is currently linked to the 3/50 Project website. “Local businesses that would like to become supporters can simply click on a link and register online at the website and it will be linked to Attleboro.”
And what about the big store chains also essential to the economy of community for jobs and tax revenues they provide?
“This is merely a project that has been created to ensure that more of a balance between people shopping in chain stores and those who shop in small retail stores."