MACHIAS, Maine — Organizers of a new Machias-based initiative say if everyone spent an extra $20 at a local business or with a local service on the 20th of each month, the practice would reap big rewards for the area’s economy.
Project 20 on 20, a brainchild of the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Machias Valley News Observer and radio station WQDY-WALZ, will kick off on Nov. 20.
At a recent informational meeting with more than a dozen local business owners, Lanette Pottle the Chamber of Commerce board president, explained the project.
“This is business helping business,” Pottle said. “Our success will be based on a broad participation. This is not about tourists. It is about us helping each other.”
Pottle said advertisements on the radio and in the local paper will feature business deals and sales that will be available only on the 20th of each month. This could mean a discount, a sale price, a special service, even reduced rates for appointments made at local businesses on that day.
Business owners could create in-store displays with the 20 on 20 theme, offer $20 off larger items, create a raffle or drawing for those who spend $20 on the 20th, feature a specialty item for $20 or offer multiple items for $20.
“The public will then, through extensive advertising, be encouraged to spend an additional $20 locally,” Pottle said.
“There is a lot of money leaving the Machias area,” she said. “We are not asking people not to shop anywhere else, but rather are asking them to make a conscious choice on the 20th to leave a little bit here.”
Pottle said the city of Ellsworth launched a similar project on one day in June and it was quite successful. “That was a one-shot deal while we are going to try to build some real momentum.”
She said that the less people spend, the worse the local economy gets. “We can turn it around if we all spend together, not a lot but at the same time on the same day,” she said. “Let’s put the money back into the system, right here in the towns in which we live, and watch as it gives our neighbors and ourselves an economic boost.”
Pottle said the project could influence buying patterns. As people begin to patronize local businesses offering sales and specials, they may discover products and services they were previously unaware of.
She said that as “20 on 20 becomes a ‘water cooler’ subject … word will spread. Over time, consciousness is raised about all we have to offer in the Machias Bay area.”
The Chamber is offering advertising to participating members at a reduced rate in the paper and on the radio. Local businesses are encouraged to participate and put posters or other signs at their businesses noting 20 on 20 sales.
Pottle said she hopes the project excites other communities and spreads throughout Washington County.
Area businesses that want to participate may contact the Chamber at 255-4402.