Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 3/50 Project

This is an old photo from the entrance to Aaron's Beach, taken in the summer months. That sign and those green reeds are not there anymore. The sign was done in by the hurricane that was called a nor'easter back in November. The green reeds always disappear or turn crispy brown in the winter time but should be returning in full force along with the mosquitoes, the ants, the horseflies and the fiddler crabs soon.

The reeds and this sign are in some ways representative of our local businesses. (Hang with me here.) We see them, we admire them from afar, we appreciate that they're here, and we assume they'll always be around.

Like the beach sign above, though, one day a small business might be here in the county; the next they're not.

One of my two local readers, Anonymous Hallieford Resident, owns the Sandpiper Reef Restaurant in Hallieford, about a mile-ish or two from my house. Imagine my surprise when I picked up last week's Gazette Journal and saw her picture right there on the front page in an article about the 3/50 Project, "a simple way to support local business."

Acknowledging that it's extremely difficult for small businesses to thrive and sustain themselves (especially in a community such as Mathews), the project encourages citizens to "pick three independent businesses in your community that you would hate to lose and spend a combined $50 at those businesses in a month."

Mathews County is a very, very tricky place to own a business. In such an isolated, insulated community, grocery stores are one of the few businesses practically immune from failure. Although we have two, they're distinct enough that neither one should have any worries about the other running them out of business. (Remind me to do a post on those differences, I could write a book on the topic.)

There are several other core businesses and services that we'll always need, such as gas stations, Dollar General, a decent Vietnamese restaurant, home repair services, auto repair services and medical professionals, to name but a few.

Restaurants must maintain a steady stream of customers to stay afloat, particularly in the not-so-busy winter months. In the sweltering warm summer months, the weekend influx of Richmonders out-of-towners descend to their summer homes to boat, fish and enjoy the seclusion, and the restaurants tend to do better.

There are many benefits to the consumer for supporting local businesses, two of which are doughnuts and ice cream cake. (Hang with me here. Again.)

For example, Saturday night I went to Sandpiper Reef Restaurant in Hallieford and thoroughly enjoyed the music and the company, which included the infamous Pookie and Husband, who were celebrating her 75th birthday. In addition to the pleasure of listening to her talk, I was right there when they plopped down her ice cream birthday cake, made by none other than Mathews Mark. It was outstanding.

Next, Mathews Mark took orders for doughnuts from Not-So-Anonymous Hallieford Restaurant Owner's brother who owns Blue Collar Joe's in Daleville, Virginia. As we speak, a dozen doughnuts sit on my counter in various stages of destruction. Although the doughnut establishment is not local to Mathews (much to my chagrin), it is a small, independently-run business that depends on its local community to survive.

(I received my greatly anticipated bling bling doughnut which is indeed heavenly but my new favorite is a chocolate doughnut with a banana frosting dotted with chocolate chips. Oh my. That's all I have to say. Oh my my my.)

So in summary, using Chesapeake Bay Woman's logic, which is an oxymoron: Support your local businesses, because if you do, you'll eat homemade ice cream cake and the best doughnuts in the universe. The End.

For more information on the 3/50 project click here.

p.s. Blue Collar Joe's doughnuts are going to be the official doughnuts of Blog Fest, even though Blue Collar Joe doesn't know this yet. This is fair warning to all Blog Fest attendees that I call all the bling-blings and the chocolate/bananas in the bunch. Also the coconut ones. And any that have caramel on them.

Thanks to my basketball days, I can--and will--box out anyone who thinks they're gonna come between me and my bling-bling/chocolate-banana doughnuts.


TSannie said...

I love donuts. And I love this 3/50 idea! I shall support it myself come this July.

wv: hotious I hope it's not too hotious during VA blogfest.

Ann Marie said...

what a wonderful idea... one of these days I may actually find time to read the paper!

and on another day I may find time to visit SPR with you again!

Anonymous said...

It was great article and many thanks to MM for the doughnuts and the many pounds that they have added to my ass. They were just as good as they looked and "joe" was just as nice as AHR. My kids want to take a road trip to try the other 288 flavors!! Thanks for the texts cause I know that was not easy for you!!!


Pueblo girl said...

What a brilliant idea - hope it gets support. Most of the local businesses around here have closed down over the years (ageing population, people moving into town, etc), but I try to use the ones that are left rather than going into town. I shall adopt this idea now, and make it less of "try" and more of "concerted effort".

Caution Flag said...

That really is a great idea.

My neighbors own a gun shop and a brand new Walmart just opened about two inches from their store. So I went into their store and pretended that I was going to buy a gun (you know, just to make them happy) but they weren't even nice to me! So I went to Walmart and bought some ice cream instead.

Jamie said...

I have never been to Aaron's Beach or Sandpiper Reef a problem I plan on fixing in the near future. And be forewarned CBW, I boxed my sister out so hard she flew back 5 feet... just saying.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice mention. 3/50 is such a great idea for any community but especially the Mathews/Gloucester area where you can put a face with almost any business you frequent. Sandpiper Reef always appreciates the publicity and I know Blue Collar Joes does as well!!! Anonymous,I was going to text you to see how you liked the donuts but got to read it here first!
Any of you readers that have drivers passing by Roanoke on I81,on your way to Mathews, PLEASE bring us our donuts!!!
And CBW....good briefly seeing you on Saturday even if we never got to talk, and.....told ya blingbling were the bomb!!!


Daryl said...

I love donuts .. the coconuts ones are safe, I dont like coconut .. I am bringing H&H bagels again .. and anything else you want. I am going to talk to the lovely people who own Recipe and Land (two teensy tiny amazing delish restaurants) to see if the there is any Thai food that will 'travel' well .. so think about what else you want me to bring ..

WV: counth .. I am counth'ing on it

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Great idea! I always buy local when I can. Those donuts looks toolishious! That is what I call donut art!

big hair envy said...

I heard about the 3/50 Project just recently. What a GREAT way to support our communities!

One of my cousins told me yesterday that she and three other cousins were at The Reef Saturday night. I mentioned that I had a friend who lived close by, but didn't realize that you were actually there as well!!! Just think, you could have met some more of your missing family members!!!

I played basketball one year. I can't box you out, but I'm short enough to take you out at the knees!! Bwahahahaha!!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

I think 3/50 is a fantastic idea. They should do that in the rural area where I grew up.

As for donuts, I call dibs on any that are white-creme filled (not the yellow Boston creme). And I will not hesitate to throw an elbow into anyone's ribs.

Thought I'd bring Chevy's chips and salsa again in July so you can get your Tex-Mex fix...

Trisha said...

The 3/50 project sounds like a wonderful idea in this time of less-than-great economics. It should be adopted by other small towns to help out the local businesses.

Mental P Mama said...

I LOVE this idea. And I love donuts. Will we have them for blogfest?

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

Yes, BlogFest is now awesome enough to have our own official donuts!

Am looking forward to BlogFest...well, if I'm not in Utah sweating my ass off and being yelled at by Jillian Michaels.

Jan said...

I saw your comment on Pueblo Girl's blog... are you a Janice? If so, hello from one Janice to another!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

Let's take a tour of the donut-making place. And samples, let's have free samples too, and let's just call that "dinner" one night. I'd be good with that.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

TSA-I'll do my best to have some here for Blog Fest. The doughnuts, not the hotious.

AM-SPR was a lot of fun.

Stuffed- My life goal is to sample each and every flavor.

PG-I'll bet you'd get lots of blogging fodder out of your efforts, too.

CF-You are too funny.

Jamie-We'll fix all that. If you happen to be in Deltaville sooner than Blog Fest, let me know and I'd be happy to show you around the beaches. But I will say, I'll give you a run for your money on the boxing out under the hoop. I mean hovering around the doughnut box.

AHR-Saturday was so much fun, it was such a nice surprise to see Miss Pookie there on her birthday. I'll tell you what else I liked - the fact that you could sit down, talk, still hear the music and still hear the conversation going on around you. Having the lights on really made an impression with me. It's those little things that make it nice (esp for those of us overly sensitive to an assault on the senses). Thank YOU for all you do for me.

Daryl-Sometimes Vietnamese, sometimes Thai places will have fresh spring rolls (not fried) with dipping sauce. If I had three thousand pounds of those, that'd be great. I'm sure that would travel easily in the back of MPM's car, no?

NNG-We also support Urbanna, too!

BHE-You and I played in a TOURNAMENT together back in the day before computers had even been invented yet. Can't believe my kinfolk were there Saturday night and I didn't get to meet them.

Meg-If you bring those chips and salsa, I will box other people out so that you can run in for a layup I mean a doughnut free and clear. Whichever one you want.

Trisha - It is, and this was the first I'd heard of it.

MPM-They're going to be the official doughnuts of Blog Fest.

Audrey-Your moon pies could have been the official desert last year. (Moon pies? They were called something else but memory is not working tonight. Or ever.)

Jan-HELLO, Buenos Dias or buenos noches. Yep, that's me.

Meg-I like the way you think. However, he's a ways away. Maybe you and I need to do a scouting trip down there one weekend. WE can make sure the doughnuts are fit for our blog fest guests. And we can practice our defensive moves while hovering over several dozen of them.

foolery said...

I have a doughnut once a year in July, on the Thursday that the British Open starts, at the buttcrack of dawn. Long story. I will gladly forego several year's worth of British Open doughnuts in favor of a dinner of Blue Collar Joe doughnuts. Let's say...$50 worth.