The benefits of supporting your local economy are numerous and varied. Homegrown business owners are the obvious winners with increased and more consistent sales; however the impact can be felt throughout the community. Consumers benefit by knowing where their purchases are sourced from, and who to contact if there is a need. Towns and cities derive value as stronger businesses generate stable and diverse tax bases and employment opportunities. In turn, communities as a whole maintain the distinctive essence and unique character that defines life in Mid Coast Maine. “Threats to the local economy that once came in the form of big box stores are now from online retailers. Cost and convenience are driving consumer buying decisions,” states Joe Gervais, Midcoast FCU President/ CEO, “which is why we want to remind our members that those decisions do come at a price to their community, and we want to encourage their continued support of local businesses.”
In 2018, the Credit Union successfully launched 321 Local Rewards, a credit card loyalty program whereby LOCAL REWARDS Visa® cardholders receive triple rewards points for making purchases from locally owned participating businesses. The program received strong initial interest from the business community, with over 144 businesses with 181 locations joining in its first year. “We were thrilled with the level of community support, but we knew that in order for the program to continue to grow, we would need a different format for our members to easily search and learn about their regional business options.” shares Lori Marquis, CMO/CIO, “That’s how www.midcoastbuylocal.me was conceived!”
Midcoast Buy Local is an independent website and regional resource supporting local businesses in Mid Coast Maine. Participating businesses are able to self-manage their own directory listing page, add links to their own website and social media pages, upload photos, and announce specials and upcoming events. Visitors to the site are able to search for businesses via an interactive map, by categories and region, and/or by 321 Local Rewards participation.
We wanted this site to be a resource for the entire Mid Coast region, regardless of their involvement in our 321 program. The Credit Union believes so strongly in the importance of a healthy and vibrant local economy, that it is fully funding this initiative, at no cost to businesses or site visitors.” adds Lori Marquis.
The site also has a bit of its own colorful vernacular with a blog section, giving an insider’s perspective on life in Mid Coast Maine. From the best swimming holes to lobster rolls to charitable organizations doing great things in their communities, we celebrate the region that we call home.