[Source: Tim Vetscher, ABC News 15] — In light of the economic downturn, a number of communities across the country have started printing their own money. It’s called scrip, or local currency, and now the idea is coming to Arizona for the very first time. It’s called Phoenix Bux and it launches July 4th. “It’s all about supporting the local businesses, if we shop locally, it keeps the money local,” said Joey Grether, who came up with the idea for Phoenix Bux.
It’s based off the concept of local currency, essentially a way for a community to exchange services and locally produced goods. Detroit, Ithaca, and the Berkshire region of Massachusetts all currently use a form of local currency. “It just keeps the money in the community rather than shopping at a corporate chain where your money will be siphoned off to a headquarter in some other city or potentially another country,” said Grether.
Starting on the 4th of July, 1,600 of the coins will go into circulation around the Phoenix area. The tokens can be used for a dollar off at participating businesses. “You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to but if you do you can just ask for your change in Phoenix Bux and you can use those tokens at other participating businesses in the Valley,” said Grether.
So far, 23 businesses have signed up to accept Phoenix Bux including Conspire, Carly’s Bistro, The Lost Leaf Bar and Gallery, and Hood Ride Bicycle Shop. “A lot of us downtown already think locally, it’s a great way to introduce the concept to outsiders,” said Derrick Pacheco, owner of Hood Ride.
If the concept catches on, Phoenix Bux may just one day do away with the dollar. “We’re taking a baby step,” said Grether. “Is Phoenix able to handle local currency? We think it is.” [Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]