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December 2010 - Mary Walsh-Martel

A year ago when retail sales dipped in town, resourceful Mary Walsh-Martel, owner of Magical Child, the toy and kids clothing store on Main Street in Greenfield, went on the offensive. She remembered an email about  the website which described . a movement to create economically resilient downtown areas through collaboration of small independent shops and restaurants. Mary has served on the retail marketing committee of the GBA Board and shared with them her idea to create a marketing plan for downtown businesses called “3/50”.  The plan works this way:  A customer who has three sales slips with a monthly grand total of $50 from participating stores deposits them with a 3/50 form in any of the partnicipating stores.  This enters the customer into a drawing for $200 in gift certificates ---EACH MONTH.

If just half the employed U.S. population spent $50 each month in local independent businesses their purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.  Think what that could do to revitalize our economy! For every $100 spent in independently owned businesses, $68 remains in the local economy through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.  Now that is real economic revitalization!

“I am committed to a vibrant downtown”, said Mary. “What that means to me is there is a unique center for commerce with busy store fronts, upper stories for offices and housing, people spending locally (saving gas and keeping their in town).  There’s a whole aspect to shopping locally that is social and the independent store is able to contribute that personal relationship to its customers that big chains and sprawl malls just don’t.”

Mary, a passionate organic gardener, lives in Conway and is still dreaming up new ideas. Recently she added recycled clothing for infants and toddlers to Magical Child’s wares to support recycling, while providing good quality for nominal prices.

For these reasons Greening Greenfield honors Mary Walsh-Martel for her community building, her energy saving and her creative advocacy for keeping dollars in Greenfield. To suggest a Green Hero, call 773-7004.

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Think Global, Act Local EarthThrives tells the story of what is Green, Sustainable and Local for the Pioneer Valley, MA!