Win, Win, Win

Most of the time, it’s difficult to tell where a great idea originates. But once in a while, you get to see one at birth.

And it’s exciting when you do.

About two weeks ago, a woman who was shopping in what’s arguably one of the greatest general stores on the planet—Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, Vermont—started up a conversation with a man named Dan Fraser. Dan is part of the family that owns and runs Dan & Whit’s.

The woman obviously has a good heart because she had just been at the Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction, one of the angel nonprofits that make this region so special. The Haven is a homeless shelter, food shelf, after-school program, etc. Great place, great people.

The Haven’s food shelf was nearly bare, the woman told Dan as she filled a grocery bag. As fast as food comes in, it goes out.

Dan was obviously one of those right people in the right place at the right time with the right idea. It wasn’t long before he was announcing on the Norwich listserv that Dan & Whit’s was prepared to donate 1% of its profits on sales in the store for the first 19 days of December to the Haven. And he hoped other businesses in town might want to do the same.

As the saying goes in this day and age, the idea went viral. Except in this case, it’s locally viral.

Soon other businesses in town pledged to do the same.

They started an online raffle on Dan & Whit’s FaceBook page and folks and organizations and businesses started donating prizes (including books from yours truly). Raffle tickets have been bought by folks from as far away as Hong Kong!

There’s been a food drive in town every weekend since, including the one pictured here by Boy Scout Troop 253 of Norwich.
Scout troop 253 for web
Two of the banks in town are preparing to make breakfast (Mascoma Savings Bank at the Norwich Grange) and lunch (Ledyard Bank at the Norwich Congregational Church) on December 21. Breakfast is free but since this is a fundraiser for the Haven, they will be asking for donations at the door. Lunch is $5 for kids & seniors, $10 for adults with all proceeds going to the Haven.

Graphic designer Doug Lufkin created the great yellow stickers that have sprouted all over town (see the picture above) and the idea of shopping local to support a local nonprofit just keep spreading.

Dan’s great about keeping us all informed about the spread of this incredibly good idea, about shopping and eating and using the services of the wonderful local businesses in Norwich while supporting a great nonprofit that’s working hard to help folks who have hit a rough patch in life.

It’s a win-win-win situation.

Doing my best to make sure it spreads.