I've mentioned the Buy Local Athens initiative a couple of times on this blog (here and here, for example) but haven't given too much away yet, as we're hoping to stage a fun launch event where we'll spill all the beans. So many people (Athens residents, business owners, and more) are interested in being a part of the movement--it's quite inspiring, and we on the board are happy to be working for such a great cause. For now I'll encourage you to visit our Facebook page and become a fan there. Once our website is ready to launch, believe you me: you'll hear about it on this blog, on Facebook, in the local newspapers, and more!
Let me outline a few details about the project so far, just to let you get your bearings.
1. After toying with several ideas, we the board voted on the name We Are Athens. (Special thanks to Alicia Nickles of Flagpole Magazine, Satisfactory Printing, and others for that idea.)
2. We established a Facebook page not long ago and have already surpassed ONE THOUSAND, THREE HUNDRED FANS. As I suggested above, the response has been phenomenal.
3. We're gathering funds so we can formally affiliate with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and become an independent business alliance.
4. Once we affiliate with AMIBA, we'll register our organization as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Once we're registered as a nonprofit with the state of Georgia and once we have formally announced the project, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals will be able to become members of We Are Athens.
5. And once we're off the ground, we'll be able to provide lots of services to the community. Later we'll make a formal announcement of the ways in which We Are Athens aims to help Athens, but you can expect to see a directory of locally-owned businesses, resources for buying locally, lists of benefits for buying locally, and some members-only perks (to name just a few things!).
Now let me introduce to you the Buy Local Athens/We Are Athens Board.
Catrina Cook (J House Media), Chair
Angi Harben (Classic Center), Co-Chair
Janet Geddis (Avid Bookshop), Secretary
Fausto Sarmiento (Banco de la Oportunidad/First American Bank & Trust), Treasurer
Chris Blackmon (ATLAS Real Estate Advisors) and Sam Drennen (First American Bank & Trust), Planning Committee
Alicia Nickles (Flagpole), Marketing Chair
Candice Courcey (Urban Sanctuary Day Spa), Membership Chair
Whether or not you're in Athens, I encourage you to look around and discover (or rediscover) the true gems of your town: locally-owned, independent businesses that enhance your community.
If you're new to the "buy local" movement, look around at these resources that explain the ways your community can be enhanced through a focus on local businesses:
Good place to start: Why Buy Local?
"New Study Shows Power of "Buy Local" campaigns
Chris Wyrick's article in the ABH about why buying local makes sense
Buying Local is a Growing Trend (Bookselling This Week article)
Our Buy Local Book Club is getting some good attention. Please consider stopping by! The book we chose is really great, but if you can't get your hands on a copy before the meeting, that's okay--we'll be able to have a good conversation all the same. I hope you'll join us.
Have a lovely (snowy) day!