Monday, October 24, 2011

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

On October 7th, we started giving away $50 each week to one Zazu customer.

Why? Keep reading...

That's why. It's got to start somewhere ...

So, for twelve weeks beginning October 7th, we randomly select one Zazu customer each week to receive a $50 bill. Our hope is that those $50 bills will be spent in some of our areas most loved independent small businesses. (yes, Zazu is eligible to be one of them!)

Each Friday, we will choose a winner and post on our Facebook page which local businesses earned a shout out that week for a job well done and appreciated!
There are several ways to enter, and yes, extra 
points for all doing all of them!
"Like" us on Facebook
• Follow us on Twitter
• Share our 3/50 post (or share on Facebook)
•Tell us on Facebook which three businesses really trip your trigger
• Comment at the bottom of this post ... those three trigger trippers
• Email us the names of your top 3 businesses (to
• Write a recommendation for Zazu on Facebook

Need more details? Keep reading ... we know, it IS a long post! Just got to cover all the bases.

Terms and Conditions - What Kind of Businesses are Eligible?
What exactly is an independent?   
Short answer: Someone who sleeps little, eats on the run, balances their checkbook over the breakfast table, combs through order forms in bed at night, and is capable of sorting invoices, signing paychecks, fielding questions, responding to emails, and faxing confirmations while simultaneously explaining to a new employee how to check in UPS.

Long answer: There are as many definitions for the word "independent" as there are types of retail stores. For the sake of clarity, we cull the most salient points from the most highly respected "buy local" organizations in the country, and hold businesses fitting that definition in the highest regard. Don't assume that "independent" equates to a monotone description, however. The 3/50 Project supports locally owned brick and mortar businesses of all types: retail stores, salons, dry cleaners, movie theaters, restaurants, etc. The people behind the counter and in the back office are the same ones you see at the nearby grocery store (possibly another indie business), each of which has a personal stake in the health of your local economy.

More specifically defined, Independent means:
· The majority of the business' ownership is private, by employees, the community, or an area cooperative, and is resident to the community in which it's based
· The business operates out of a physical storefront or similar and is the only business residing at that specific doorway's address (not a kiosk, home based business, etc.)
· The business relies solely on its unique name and reputation (ie, does not "wear" a regionally or nationally recognized brand name)
· The business is registered only in its home state, and has no affiliation with an out of state headquarters or corporate office
· Full decision making function for the business is held by the local owner(s), including the name, signage, brand, appearance, purchasing, etc.
· The business is solely responsible for paying its own rent, marketing, and other expenses
· It has no more than two outlets, both located in a single state, with a central base of operations in that state 
· It is not a vendor (ie, does not sell wholesale)

Why don't you include franchises or regional/national brand names in that definition? 
The definition of "independent" and the resulting guidelines used by The 3/50 Project were not created quickly or without thought, but are based on widely recognized standards as defined by the three largest and most highly respected Buy Local organizations in the country: BALLE, AMIBA, and the American Booksellers Association.

Unfortunately, no one can be all things to all people. Given the wide variations in the amount of corporate input and support among the thousands of franchise and chain operations around the country, The 3/50 Project supports one very specific, very unique business model-that of the independent business who does not have the benefit of a preferred vendor list, specially negotiated vendor pricing, corporate office access, and a regionally/nationally recognized brand name (which, by extension, allows franchises to benefit from the halo effect when the corporate office runs national ad campaigns).

Whether a hardware store or a burger place, a regionally or nationally recognized name provides benefits that true "independents" don't have-otherwise, why would anyone pay for the right to wear them?

Please don't feel we're tossing you out the door if you own a business that fits into this group, though. Hundreds of chains, franchises, and recognized brands agree that supporting their independent counterparts is critically important to the health of their local economies, and register with us to show it. If you look on our Supporters page, you'll see them listed on the right hand side of the page. Just our way of saying thanks for their belief in The 3/50 Project.

Why don't you include home based businesses in The 3/50 Project? 
Short answer: Because they aren't brick and mortar independents.
Long answer: Because commercial property tax is one of the largest lump sum contributions a brick and mortar makes to a community (in addition to whatever property taxes they pay for their home). Businesses operating from a residence do not make the hefty contribution to a community's commercial property tax fund that brick and mortars do. That's not to say that all home based businesses are bad-just that they don't qualify as a 3/50 Project participant (sorry, but this is not open for negotiation).

And ... Ta Da! The comment box...


  1. Great promotion, Caroline! I would miss Zazu:)--Dana

  2. Thanks, Dana! Can you pick two more places? I'd love to let them know ...


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