Not long ago I spent a little time in one of my favorite places on Earth, Asheville, NC. If you live in North Carolina (and if you’re reading this email, you most likely do) you have probably visited Asheville at one time or another. I’m not sure why I’ve had such a long standing attraction to the city but there’s something magical for me when I’m there. Obviously, the never ending array of local breweries and restaurants help, but I’ve often wondered if it isn’t the people and the mountains that do it for me. If you have been there before, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
You see, Asheville is one of the few places that I’ve ever seen where you can go, do and/or be anything that you want. Whether you fancy yourself as a professional, a hipster, an artist or anything else, when you go to Asheville you’re likely to fit in. When I go there I often feel a great sense of pride for the community.
One of the coolest things that I saw on my recent visit was the “Love Asheville. Shop Local.” campaign. I won’t get into the nuts and bolts of the whole program (which is incredible) but basically if you are a locally owned and independent company you can list your company in the “Asheville Grown” directory. Once your business is on the directory you create an offer for “Go Local” cardholders. Residents of Asheville purchase the “Go Local” card, giving them access to the directory and offers, and proceeds are donated to Asheville Urban Public Schools.
Personally, I think it’s an exceptional program that has real value. If you’re a small business owner like me you know how important it is to support others like us in the community. We all know that you can buy almost anything online or from big box stores, but what good does it do besides saving a couple of pennies or a couple of minutes? Small businesses are the lifeblood of our community. When you buy from a local business you aren’t buying a third or fourth house for a CEO in Seattle. When you spend your money locally you’re most likely paying for dance lessons for someone’s daughter, summer camp for someone’s son or a car tune-up for the small business owner.
If you’re reading this email you are probably a customer of our company. If that’s the case, on behalf of myself, my staff of 10 and their families I want to say thank you for keeping your money where your heart is.
For more information about the “Asheville Grown” program please visit www.ashevillegrown.com.