March ALAP Recap

March ALAP Meeting Recap

We are an informal group of Northern Michigan citizens seeking to have more local impact and connectedness with our money. We gather once a month for a potluck and to meet local entrepreneurs and learn about their projects. During our meetings, we also share ideas for how we might keep more of our money locally and invested for triple-bottom-line returns (financial, social, and environmental). This is an experiment of sorts with exciting offshoot possibilities, including the spawning of a more formal local investing club. For now, though, those interested in pursuing local investments with other group members or presenting entrepreneurs may do so independently of this ALAP group. Our meetings are open to any individual, although we request that you RSVP so that we can assure sufficient meeting space.

March 8 was the date for another terrific As Local As Possible (ALAP) Investment Group meeting! We gathered at Michigan Land Use Institute HQ (thank you MLUI!) for a good mix of food and networking and discussion focused on community-based investing.

After our opening potluck hour, we heard a five-minute talk and product sampling from Dennis Bean-Larson. Dennis is a fixture (pun intended) at The Mercato which serves as the home for the eclectic retail shop and brick and mortar base for his Fixed Gear Gallery, one of the country’s largest websites devoted to fixed gear bikes. At our meeting, Dennis introduced his ERG! energy bar project, which he hopes to take to the next level with product introductions at several upcoming bike events. Those interested in learning more about ERG! can reach Dennis at fixedgearwizard@yahoo.com.

After Dennis, Scotty Bruce of mifarmmarket.com took the floor. Scotty gave us a spirited overview of his family business which has already become a success story in Ellsworth. Mifarmmarket.com adds value to both local farm/food entrepreneurs and discerning consumers with its gourmet food baskets of All-Michigan-Made products. The company mixes live events and the latest in search engine optimization/social media techniques to drive revenue growth and economic benefit to the region’s boutique food producers. Scotty discussed several of the exciting growth initiatives the company is targeting in the years ahead and invited those interested in his company to follow-up with him directly. Scotty can be reached @ scotty@mifarmmarket.com.

During our final hour, the group discussed the evening’s speakers and planned for our next meeting on April 12 which will feature Ruth Smith of Selestial Soap. We plan to have a “working potluck” at this meeting from 6pm sharp and will attempt to make a dent into a growing backlog of ideas produced by the group (including the possibility of recording meetings, the merits of boosting the group’s membership, leading triple-bottom-line “cash mobs”, building in investment education into the meeting mix, etc). Several group members also expressed an interest in pursuing an investment club format for those who would like to pool funds and make joint investments. Anyone interested in joining the steering committee for this, please contact me and I will forward details and information for a meeting we will hold on April 5 to get the ball rolling.

Thanks again for your continued interest and participation and I look forward to seeing you in the weeks ahead.

Zach

PS: Two upcoming educational events related to community capital to put on your radar:

1) Balle’s Accelerating Community Capital series hosts the latest on the topic of Community Supported Enterprise March 13 @ 1pm EST. More details of this event (with $25 fee) can be found here. For anyone in the Elk Rapids area Tuesday who would like to join the webinar (and save the fee), please let me know as I have already subscribed to the series and would welcome you to join me at Goldeneye HQ.

2) Orion Magazine call on local investing with the author of Local Dollars, Local Sense Michael Shuman Thursday, March 22 @ 7pm. Info on the call can be found here (thanks for the tip Maura!)

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