More than eight months after launching “Lets Buy Local Business Alliance of Rhode Island [sic],” a grassroots community-building initiative that encourages people to shop locally and support small Rhode Island business owners, Dr. Timothy Hudyncia and Lea Knepley, who spearheaded the mission, said the project is going strong.
To help maintain its momentum, Lets Buy Local, along with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), declared this week “Independents Week,” and have set up a “Cyber-Mobbing” shopping spree on the Lets Buy Local Facebook page at facebook.com/LetsBuyLocal.
The objective is simple: visit the site each day this week ready to spend $20 to support local independent businesses.
“We’re really hoping to create a little bit of excitement and enthusiasm to introduce people to some pretty awesome local independent businesses,” Hudyncia said during a phone interview Friday.
The event, which started Sunday and will run through Saturday, supports stores in Warwick, Cranston, Coventry, East Greenwich and Providence. Sunday, cyber-mobbers visited Koi Villa in Coventry, which specializes in koi ponds, and Bellani Maternity on Monday.
Today, they will visit The River's Edge Flowers & Gifts in Cranston.
Since February, Lets Buy Local has been leading live “Cash Mobs” throughout central Rhode Island. While Hudyncia says he and Knepley thought about postponing events for the summer, they thought better of it and came up with the idea of the “Cyber-Mobbing.”
“People are highly distracted in the summer, but we had this strong desire to do a series of cyber-mobbing and we chose to do it as a test run,” Hudyncia said.
To add to the thrill of the event, Hudyncia and his team is offering raffle prizes via the Facebook page each day. For a person to qualify for the raffle, they have to visit the event page and share a comment about their shopping experience.
Further, Hudyncia said the main goal of the project is to take control of local economies and reverse the trend of chains and big boxes displacing locally owned businesses.
“For every dollar that you spend at a local independent business, three and a half times more money is returned to the local economy,” he said.
Also, he said he’s pleased Lets Buy Local has surpassed many of its goals. In fact, they’ve had a great deal of media coverage since they began.
But Hudyncia said there’s room for improvement.
“The only goal we haven’t blown out of the water is membership,” he said. “Right now, we have 55 members and that’s the biggest challenge – getting local businesses on board.”
For more information, visit LetsBuyLocal.com.