Support Local In conjunction with Small Business Saturday on November 30th, 2013, business owner and pharmacist, Mona Ghattas of Duran Central Pharmacy, wanted to try and build upon that campaign by educating her employees as well as her customers and patients on the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses.  She ordered 1500 $2.00 bills from her bank.  She then gave each of her 30 employees $100 worth of the $2.00 bills with specific instructions on how the bills must be spent.  First, the bills must be spent as cash, not deposited in an account.  Ten percent must be given to a charity of their choice.  The bills must be spent at a locally owned business in the Albuquerque metro area and Bernalillo County.  All of the money must be spent within 30 days.  And finally, if anyone asks about the $2.00 bills, they must explain the program.

“I wanted to encourage my employees to support locally owned businesses while at the same time encouraging other business owners and leaders in our community of the importance of this campaign,” Ghattas said.  “We have incredible people working for us and equally incredible people that support our business at Duran Central Pharmacy.  It is essential to differentiate between a local business and a locally “owned” business,” Ghattas explained.  “A corporate owned store sends their profits to out-of-state headquarters each night.  A locally owned business keeps all their dollars in the local economy.”

“We live here, our kids go to school here, and every dollar stays here in Bernalillo County. The national companies can’t say that. If we are going to ensure strong neighborhoods and towns we need strong locally owned businesses,” added Ghattas

“Using a $2 bill gets noticed!  We only receive one or two of these bills a month at Duran’s,” said Ghattas.  “By using these uncommon $2 bills, we can see if our program is working.  We hope other local businesses that receive the bills will in turn give them as change, and maybe request some of their own $2.00 bills from the bank. We are hoping our neighbors will spend them at other locally owned businesses.”

Two bucks does not go very far these days, but it may just keep locally owned businesses alive…..$2.00 at a time.