The Shop Local, Give Back Local movement is going on in communities across the country.
It's one Brambleton resident Jeanee Layman, a former sales executive at UUNET, stumbled upon when she became a stay-at-home mom eight years ago and began exploring Loudoun County with her son.
She discovered Loudoun’s farms, farmers markets, vineyards, local boutiques and shops and restaurants. She also realized the importance of the local food movement due to her son’s food allergy.
A few years later, she started LoyalLocal.com, "a Groupon type website focused on locally owned businesses, local food and family related deals."
But then she "wanted to focus more on the local businesses and giving back to the community, so I shut down the site to develop a new site and direction,” Layman said.
This week, she is launching the localutionproject.com or Loudounlocal.com, as the only shop local, donate local campaign in Loudoun. The mission is to strengthen Loudoun’s locally owned businesses and raise funds for local schools and causes.
“I have a passion for Loudoun’s independent businesses and want to help people understand how important they are to the economy,” Layman said.
It's all about making choices, Layman says. Sometimes it is easier to drive-through McDonald’s rather than taking the time to stop, get out of the car, and buy a sandwich at a locally owned restaurant.
But eLocal.com estimates about 65 percent of revenue is reinvested back into the community when you buy from local businesses; if people were to commit only 15 percent of their spending to local businesses it would bring millions of dollars back into the local economy.
The site has two major projects so far: the Localution project, which businesses can join for a directory listing, marketing, locals only deals, rewards and contests and other events organized by the site, and Shop Loudoun Day, set for Jan. 29, "a day to promote awareness of Loudoun’s locally owned businesses and to also raise funds for Loudoun’s non-profits and schools."
The Jan. 29 event asks local businesses to agree to donate a percentage of the day's sales to a local charity, school or nonprofit.
Through the site, they can advertise where they plan to give as well as specials or incentives.
Some of the many businesses who have signed up so far include: Lost Rhino,The Cajun Experience, The Resourceful Woman Thrift Shop and Sport Bounce ofLoudoun, which is planning to donate 50 percent of the open bounce admission sales to the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS).
In March, the site plans to offer an added bonus - a Loyal Local Rewards Card.
Participating local businesses will receive white Loyal Local cards and locals may purchase blue Loyal Local cards for $15, $10 of which will go to the Loudoun school or charity of their choice.
For more information, visit Loudounlocal.com.