When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

08 April 2009

Local scrip in small-town North Carolina

Hey, over in Pittsboro, they've set up an alternative currency:
A grassroots organization in a small Chatham County town is putting a new spin on an old idea in the hopes of energizing the town's economy.

The PLENTY Currency Cooperative believes a new currency it plans to unveil in a few weeks – and a local bank's willingness to distribute it – will encourage people to spend their money in Pittsboro.

And the attractive exchange rate for the new bills, called PLENTYs, won't hurt either.

"We're starting with an initial exchange rate of 90 cents per PLENTY, meaning you can go in with nine U.S. dollars and get 10 PLENTYs back, which is essentially a 10-percent-off coupon for shopping locally," B.J. Lawson, with the Plenty Currency Cooperative, said.

Local U.S. currencies date back to the Depression era. While the PLENTY's been around since 2002, the original version's odd denominations and lack of convertibility to Federal Reserve notes posed a problem.

"There was a genuine risk that if you sold a big sculpture or had a big fuel order, you could end up with a disproportionate number of the PLENTYs," Lyle Estill, with the cooperative, said. "Now that we can exchange them at Capital Bank, that fear goes away and I'm standing by to see every merchant in town happily accepting PLENTYs."
Local currency to boost small town's economy (News 14 Carolina)

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