The FairBuck Project began in the beginning of 2011 as a collaborative effort by Sustainable Fairfax, Town of Fairfax and Fairfax Chamber of Commerce to launch and utilize a 3 dollar trade token to promote a more vibrant local economy. In June of 2011 we minted 5,000 tokens and had a very successful launch during the Fairfax Festival. With over 30 businesses participating; we were able to get almost 4,000 tokens int circulation in one week, mostly through exchanges with individuals.
Our enthusiastic parade entry won second place in the Community category, we tossed out chocolate coins, and had numerous volunteers walking around the festival exchanging US dollars for FairBucks. The project was inspiration for the Festival poster/tee shirt, featured on the cover of the Pacific Sun and the San Francisco Chronicle, and covered by local radio, TV, and online news sources. Use of the FairBuck encourages residents and visitors to invest in Fairfax and heightens awareness of how spending locally encourages the Fairfax community’s economic well-being.
At one month in, only one business has felt the need to exchange them back into US dollars and it happened to be Fat Angel, the only coffee shop in town accepting the FairBuck for the first 3 weeks of circulation. Individuals are asking for the FairBuck in change, many purchasing from one business so they can spend them at others. Most participating businesses are finding the flow in and out to be well matched. Ray Martin owner of the Fairfax Scoop has been cashing them out himself for local shopping. Parents are finding it a great way to pay allowance or chore money.
We have $12,000 worth of Fairbucks circulating around town, keeping our money local. Our reserve account at First Federal Saving and Loan is holding the $12,000 in US dollars in case businesses need to exchange back and after observation of the project we will determine a reasonable reserve level and hopefully use the funds raised to mint another batch of tokens for 2012 and for local community projects.
But the mercantile token is just the tip of the iceberg. Now that we have everyone’s attention we are interested in growing the project to possibly include a broader token such as Ross Valley, or even all of Marin or we might create a FairBuck debit card system or a scrip based exchange for local businesses. But we need volunteers to make all of this happen. An amazing team of volunteers from Environmental Forum of Marin, Sustainable Fairfax, Town of Fairfax and the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce has been working very hard to make the launch a success.
Now we need folks to work on our Merchant Outreach Team, our Messaging Team and our Model Design Team. These three teams are led by members of the FairBuck Steering committee and will determine the future of local currency in Fairfax. We discovered the 80% or all local currencies fail and we are committed to be part of the 20% that succeed.
The FairBuck provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to invest in Fairfax. The FairBuck is accepted as change and can only be spent at participating businesses in Fairfax-keeping those dollars circulating locally. FairBuck tokens that are kept as souvenirs allow us to spend US dollars raised on local community projects. FairBuck trade tokens empower Fairfax to support local business and keep our local economy thriving. Keep the FairBuck moving by asking for it in change and spending it at participating businesses.
Participation is completely voluntary for businesses and shoppers.
For more information go to www.fairbuck.org
To get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org
List Of Certified FairBuck Businesses as of July 9th, 2011
123 Bolinas, 19 Broadway Nightclub, Avatar Community Business Center, Bellezza Skin Care, Butterflies & Pollywogs, Casa Mañana , Circlecenter , Culture Shock , Dandelion Eco SaLon, elsewhere gallery, Fairfax Cyclery, Fairfax French Laundry & Cleaners, Fairfax IGA Market, Fairfax Lumber and Hardware, Fairfax Scoop , Fat Angel Bakery, For Paws, Good Earth Natural Foods, Grilly’s, Iron Springs Pub & Brewery, Lola’s Depot, Lydia’s Kitchen, Madera Furniture, Morgan Hall – Architect, Quality Liquors, Revolution 9, Rushton-Chartock Architects, Sustainable Fairfax, The Fairfax Community Wellness Center, The Herban Garden, The Potting Shed, The Sleeping Lady, Tibet Moon, Trouvé, Various & Sundries, Yoga Mountain Studio