In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series of posts, I offer some suggestions for investing your money locally. One of my suggestions was to start a business that allows you to earn a livelihood while also helping your local community become more vibrant and resilient. Looking around at my own community, I can list a number of businesses that (at least in my opinion) are desperately needed:
Bicycle repair shop*
Courier; delivery service
Knife-sharpening shop (the only guy in town who was doing this died, and no one took over the business)
Grocery store* (ideally a co-op! or at least an independently owned store rather than a chain). Check out this brilliant vision that a friend just described to me: “Get every farmer withing a hundred miles a steady income. Hold classes in the store during open hours on organic backyard gardening to sell back to the store, keep two or three aisles open for 100 percent local produced, kombucha, honey, soaps, etc etc etc. On-site aquaponics, rooftop gardens and beehives, all the local fishermen bringing us their catch etc etc.” Now THAT would be a grocery store to aspire to!
Laundromat; laundry service
Landlords (LOCAL, and ideally living on the premises, not absentee) for small multifamily unit buildings (2-4 units) that are up for sale in the neighborhood
A year-round pedicab company (the only one we have right now operates only seasonally, and mainly in the touristy area of town)
Small urban farms
*(Asterisks indicate that such businesses exist in my general geographic region but not within walking distance of my neighborhood.)
This is just a very short list off the top of my head. Look around your area; what unmet needs do you see that you might turn into opportunities?
One of my favorite examples of a local business in my area that is earning its proprietor a livelihood while truly serving a need in the community (multiple needs, in fact) is Midtown Laundry of Daytona Beach. This laundry pickup and delivery service hires formerly incarcerated individuals who would otherwise have trouble finding work. The employees are very dedicated because they want to keep their jobs. It’s a major win-win.
Civics note: When it comes to assessing what businesses are needed in a neighborhood, and filling those needs, the residents themselves know best. By their nature, governments and the people we call “developers” are not the ones best equipped for that task. If we want to have a say in the commercial development of our communities, we have to step up and be proactive.
Can’t find any local investment opportunities right now? No problem!
I’ve been meaning to share with you this outstanding article “How I Am Investing To Save the Planet” from one of my top go-to resources, Laura Oldanie (Triple Bottom Line Financial Independence). Like me, Laura is a staunch advocate of “moving one’s money from Wall Street to Main Street”! Although the investments she writes about in this post are not all local per se, they will allow you to have peace of mind, knowing that your money is benefiting people and the planet while earning you a decent return. (I was impressed with the 10% return on one of the investments!)
I also hear that Terracycle, the worldwide enterprise that accepts pretty much every category of manufactured waste for recycling, is offering investment opportunities, with a minimum investment of $700. I am seriously considering investing.