While many "buy local" campaigns seem to rely on a sticker in a window or a rare event-driven day (American Express Small Business Saturday), loyalty cards, gift cards and community websites are emerging to throw wider support to the cause.
None of the initiatives are widespread and some are brand new, but here are a few notable examples:
While other areas appear to equally gain some benefit from their memorable neighborhoods and iconic local shops, the just-launched E.Vil Mall website believes it is positioned to particularly benefit from its reputation as the "center of counterculture in New York."
The East Village serves 65,000 students attending NYU, Cooper Union, The New School as well as another "young professionals, a bevy of celebrities, immigrants, street kids, and old-timers." But a big part of the opportunity is reaching those who have left the neighborhood.
"Part of our core audience is what I call 'East Village alumni' — people who used to live here but have since moved upstate to start a family," website founder, Jonathan Hollinger, told the New York Post.
Marketing messages behind the initiatives can add more meaning to the principle of shopping local. They include keeping money in the local economy, preserving a city's diversity and distinctive flavor, lessening the eco-impact of travel, and tapping the know-how of those who understand the community's needs better than major conglomerates.
As Go Local's marketing efforts states, "To a local business owner, a customer isn't just another face in the crowd, but a neighbor — somebody they might run into walking their dog around Town Lake or taking their kid to ukulele practice."
Do community websites, gift cards or loyalty cards offer the most potential for independents in supporting "buy local" efforts?