Helena council member touts new way to shop at home

Published 4:34 pm Monday, December 7, 2009

Helena City Council member Cris Nelson is looking to get city residents thinking small — small businesses, that is.

Nelson, who is also a member of the Helena Business and Professional Association, is trying to get momentum behind an idea that would encourage Helena residents to spend $50 in three different local stores.

“When you stop and think about it, if everybody could pick out three businesses in the community in which to spend $50 a month, then we could make a huge difference,” Nelson said. “Most of our businesses in the community are mom and pop businesses.”

The idea came from another Helena resident, who found a similar project on the Internet.

Nelson said as an alternative, she would also encourage residents to consider spending $25 in six different businesses. Her goal is to support Shelby County as well as Helena, she said.

“I think it would be an improvement to make people think of spending their money at home as much as they can. If they’re not going to spend the money in Helena, at least try to stay in Shelby County and don’t go to Jefferson County,” she said. “We are all creatures of habit, and if we all start doing that on a regular basis, it becomes a domino effect.”

Nelson said she plans to bring up the idea at the next meeting of the Helena Business and Professional Association.

“It’s going to be something that I hope we can continue to bring to the forefront of people’s minds,” she said. “It’s such a simple concept that sometimes we just miss the simple things.”

People who have already heard about the idea want to hear more, Nelson said.

“It’s still a work in progress. I don’t have the whole road map laid out yet,” she said. “One of the business members I sent this (idea) to has relatives in Mississippi, and they have adopted a very similar concept in trying to get residents to spend money at home. I’m hoping we can help spread the word and see how successful we are in getting people to spend a little more money at home.”

The Web site with information about the original concept is The350project.net.