Membership in Bay Bucks is currently free and entitles your business to be listed in our online directory. If you need a starter set of Bay Bucks for change-making, please note that in the comments space and a Bay Bucks representative will contact you. Thank you for joining

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Why Join?

Sure, you can support local businesses with US dollars. So why become a member of a local currency campaign? Here are three good reasons:

1. The Multiplier Effect - When you spend your hard earned money at the grocery store, the store owner may use that money to pay employees or repair the roof. The employee (or roofer) will then likely spend part of their pay on books, gas, rent, etc. Economists refer to the exchange and circulation of money in the economy as the "multiplier effect." This means that your paycheck becomes income for many other people, IF IT DOESN'T LEAVE the area economy first.

US Dollars can go to support a local business, but who's to say that it will stay in the local economy at the next transaction, or the transaction after that? Few federal dollars remain in the community for more than a transaction or two. Bay Bucks, however, are locked into the local economy in a way that makes every transaction a local transaction. Because of this multiplier, a BB5 actually can do ten, twenty or fifty dollars worth of business throughout a year.  A 2008 study in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found that a 10% shift in market share from chain stores to independently owned stores would yield 1,600 new jobs and pump $137 million into the area.

2. Local Sells - More than ever, consumers are focused on local value. Folks love to eat at restaurants where they know the owner and the chef; they love to shop at farm markets and talk about how their food was grown; they love to know the artists and craftsmen whose objects fill their home.

Bay Bucks work because of Northwest Lower Michigan - because of our galleries, our restaurants, farmers, artists and entrepreneurs. Bay Bucks work because of our unique natural and cultural resources. We're proud to be local, and proud to be connected - to our land, our food, our businesses and each other. Businesses connect to this local pride by joining Bay Bucks.

3. Bay Bucks work for the WHOLE local economy. Local Currencies encourage people to become earners, and support alternative economies that often go unrecognized. Bay Bucks can be used to pay volunteers who do park clean up, who then spend that money to buy lunch after a hard morning's work. Folks use Bay Bucks to pay neighbors - to rake a yard, knit a sweater, to babysit, design a business card - and these hundreds of small transactions add up to extra money for the holidays or for a luxury item - a piece of art or a night on the town.