197 Reasons to Love Dane Buy Local 
Rick Brooks is co-founder of Dane Buy Local and Little Free Library 
  Rick Brooks

That’s the total number of Dane Buy Local members with whom I have directly transacted business.  They are on my ”life list.”  It means more than just exchanging a handshake at a breakfast or social event, and more than just being a customer. 

That’s the point, in fact.  These are no ordinary buyer-seller relationships.  Instead of mere online clicks or shopping trips that could have taken me to just about any replaceable big box store,  I chose these people and they chose me. We know each other by names, faces and good deeds. 

We’re not talking about mass marketing.  It’s personal.

To count, in my mind, means you got more than my money and I got more than your products or services.  You impressed or inspired me.  You made me laugh or made me remember something that you didn’t have to do but did it anyway because it was the right thing to do…for you, your business or organization, your neighbors and the community or world at large.  That memorable event may not have been specified in your business plan or mission statement. But it made a difference.

You are on my list because each of us did something of value for the other, not just for profit or to line our own nests.  You asked for my advice or I asked for yours.  You may have volunteered for something that mattered to people I know or I did something similar for you. 

In these times of mean-spirited politics, climate change and anxiety about so many things, those kinds of business practices, however small they may seem, can have big implications for our outlook on community life.  That’s why my personal copy of the Dane Buy Local Guide is open this very moment.

To be honest, I was surprised that my personal “life list” of Dane Buy Local relationships wasn’t much larger than that. Of course, the “weaker ties” that scholars say bind us together in networks like Dane Buy Local are important, too.  Because of such bonds, we are likely to trust and recommend each other more quickly than people we don’t know. 

So…197 and counting. At least 600 more of you could easily be on my list.  Being a competitive type, I’m aiming to break 200 within the next week or two.  But not to worry. You’re probably already on my list because Dane Buy Local made it possible to meet, read or hear about each other. And to quote Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “I am a part of all that I have met.” 

That sort of meet up doesn't occur if you are merely a unit in a target market segment or persona in my highly sophisticated database enhancement strategy.

Nope. You’re worth knowing better than that, and it’s definitely not “just business.”

Don’t you think so?  I know you do. 

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