Dan Fraser over at Dan & Whit’s general store in Norwich, Vermont (the inspiration for Cooper’s General Store in Carding, Vermont) started something big last year.
It all began when he spotted a regular customer filling a box with canned and packaged foods and went over to say hi. During their ensuing conversation, Dan discovered that the customer volunteered at our area’s local homeless shelter and food pantry, the Upper Valley Haven.
He also learned there wasn’t any food on the pantry’s shelves.
Now Dan’s a goodhearted soul and a pretty smart business man. He combined the Haven’s need with the Vermont penchant for buying and giving locally and the fact that Christmas was only a month away in an event called the 19 Days of Norwich, 1% for the Haven.
The idea is to encourage local businesses to band together to dedicate 1% of their proceeds for the first 19 days of December to stocking the Haven’s food shelf.
I thought it was brilliant and told him so. Then I told him about the Haven Hats pattern that I developed and about the hats I’ve made for the shelter for several years.
Before I knew it, that effort became part of Dan’s outreach and Dan & Whit’s was stocking my books on their shelves.
This year, the Haven Hats are displayed in 8 locations around town on an octet of plexiglass snowmen. (Two of them were made by my friend Marsha Biggs of Norwich.)
I’m going to be signing books on December 5 in aisle 2 at Dan & Whit’s with a portion of sales to the Haven. And I just finished the quilt you can see up above, nicknamed “Hey Nineteen,” as an item to be raffled off over the coming 19 Days of Norwich.
(It’s my first raffle quilt! I hope it suits.)
This year, the idea has spread among other locally owned stores here in the Upper Valley, the Dorothy Byrne Foundation has made a matching grant for the effort, and according to a story in our local newspaper this morning the businesses that participated last year experienced a rise in sales for that period of time in 2013.
I love win-win-wins, don’t you?