Is your store participating in any "buy local" programs or the 3/50 project?
MOTIF Modern Living participates in the 3/50 Project, and we love the concept, although I’m not sure that we fit the mold. My partner and I never wanted MOTIF to be seen as a "mom-and-pop shop." We consciously cultivate an image of slick sophistication through merchandising, marketing and technology, but that does backfire on us when it comes to being perceived as "local." We also have the issue of a suburban location, which "buy local" diehards perceive as somehow disingenuous. Having stores in other cities also works against us. But we are proud of being a local, independent furniture company and we hope that over time the connotation of "local" will broaden to include regional businesses like ours.
We participate in the 3/50 Project and have since right after it got started. We give out their fliers with each purchase and thank customers verbally for shopping locally. We also have a link to the 3/50 project on our blog and promote it to our customers on both Twitter and Facebook. We thank customers in our monthly e-newsletter and mention the 3/50 Project often there too. Customers always act very appreciative when we thank them for choosing to shop locally and seem to feel as though it is more important now than ever before.
It has always been a philosophy of mine to buy as much local product as possible. That way the money stays in the community. It is something we have always done, and something that really resonates with our customers. We’re a shop, not a store; the shops are not in malls, and even though we have three locations, we are a local business. That is something our customers have always responded to. We are not part of any formal efforts to encourage customers to shop locally at the moment. I am sure there are some around, but that’s always been such a focus of ours — and for our customers as well — that we haven’t needed one.