What started as an effort to encourage people to shop locally for the holidays in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has grown to be much more. In 2013, a group of shop owners met and decided to donate a portion of their Black Friday sales to local charities and nonprofits. They called it "Ballard Gives Back." This year, more than 30 small businesses in Ballard are participating.
The idea was largely forged by the owners of Market Street Shoes, Lanne and Ryan Stauffer. Their store already had been working with Labateyah Youth Home, an organization that supports Native American youth who are homeless. Lanne says "Ballard Gives Back" gives meaning to shopping locally.
"If you know what is important to the store you're shopping in, and you know that there's purpose behind what you're spending there, it seems like a good way to vote with your dollars," Lanne Stauffer said. The idea for "Ballard Gives Back" came out of a meeting among business owners, after they had embarked on a "shop local" campaign. Kristie Kisbye was at that meeting. She owns Annie's Art and Frame on Northwest Market Street, and says she thought the idea just sounded like the right thing to do. "If we're going to encourage people to shop local, it made sense to then give back to the community that is shopping locally with us," Kisbye said. She partnered with Mary's Place, which works with women and families who are homeless. A few blocks away, re-souL is donating a portion of its sales to YouthCare, a group that supports homeless youth. Legh Burns, who owns the store, says customers are able to keep their dollars in their community by shopping local. "There's no better way of demonstrating that than, as a group of merchants, to pledge a portion of your sales to give back to a local nonprofit," Burns said. Many stores are continuing to donate through the weekend. Some of the other organizations being supported this year include The Vera Project and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.