Brattleboro Group Urges Residents to Support Local Merchants

Date: 1 Feb 2004 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Last year when Home Depot announced that it would open in a former Ames department store building in Brattleboro, Vermont, a group of residents organized a campaign urging people to avoid the store and continue supporting their hometown merchants.

The group, BrattPower: Supporting Our Local Economy, gathered 3,200 petition signatures in this town of 12,000, organized a community forum, and began running radio and newspaper ads outlining the hidden costs of large chain stores and the benefits of locally owned businesses.

The group’s radio ad opens with Bob walking into Alice’s restaurant and telling Alice that he just saved 60 cents at the new Home Depot. Bob is surprised to learn from Alice that Pop’s Hardware is closing. They begin to talk about all the other businesses that rely on Pop’s. “A lot of Pop’s people eat here,” says Alice. “My wife does his accounting,” notes Bob. “And doesn’t your son in-law do his printing?” Bob decides that saving 60 cents probably was not such a good deal after all.

The ads began running in November and continued after Home Depot opened in mid January. BrattPower hopes the store will rank as Home Depot’s worst-performing outlet.

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Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which partners with a wide range of allies to implement policies that counter concentrated power and strengthen local economies.