Chestnut Hill: Battling the Economic Downturn in an Upscale Neighborhood

Chestnut Hill locals walk up and down the Avenue filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants.]

Chestnut Hill is known to be a destination for unique boutiques, shops and restaurants. But recently, some local shop owners have gone out of business or are struggling to stay open.

To try and stimulate sales along this stretch of Germantown Avenue, the Chestnut Hill Business Association has been supporting the national retail campaign called the 3/50 Project.

Chestnut Hill locals walk up and down the avenue filled with shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

The idea is to save their local businesses three stores at a time. “Pick 3. Spend $50,” reads the flyer.

Instead of spending money at major chain stores, the 3/50 Project asks neighbors to spend $100 each month at local, independent stores. Project backers believe that of every $100 spent, $68  gets returned back into the community through taxes and payroll.

However, getting some shoppers to go along with this may be a little tougher.

Bill Green, a local resident, offered this explanation to why people often shop elsewhere.

“I think for an awful lot of people, decisions are based on how much a product cost. That’s why I think chain stores like Walmart thrives.”

A worker hauls some merchandise to one of the local shops.

On the other hand, some residents told NewsWorks they hope the 3/50 Project will succeed.

Local resident, Patrick Mooney, 51, liked the idea.

“I try to do it as much as possible myself. Last Christmas, I bought everything along Germantown Avenue. I think the economic downturn in general is making the already weak businesses more vulnerable. If people did shop locally, the places would stay afloat.”

Jose Manuel Navarro, 62, is also supportive of the 3/50 Project .

“I see so many stores closing and it bothers me.  One of the stores down the street is closed. There are two down the other street closing,” he said.

Cinda Baxter, the founder of the national 3/50 Project, simply started blogging to bridge the information gap that existed between retailers and vendors. That was when the 3/50 Project was born.

Being a retail owner herself in New York, Baxter said her store would not have survived without her support group, which included well-established storeowners who met annually to talk about the industry buzz and trade information amongst each other.

A local stops by one of the stores and picks up a couple of items.

The 3/50 Project has been successful for independent business owners in states like Ohio and New Jersey. For more information about the 3/50 Project, visit Baxter’s website at

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