SWEETWATER COUNTY – When was the last time you saw a $2 bill? When was the last time you spent a $2 bill? What would you think if you were asked to seek out and then share $2 bills for the good of the community?
The Rocket Miner is partnering with the Trona Valley Federal Credit Union to present the $2 pledge to encourage residents to shop local more often. If we want to preserve our community and way of life, we can’t afford not to shop local.
The challenge is simple. We’re looking for people to pledge to spend $100 locally on holiday gifts or holiday-related purchases. We’re not asking people to buy more than planned; we just want people to direct their dollars toward local vendors.
We invite people to go to the Trona Valley Federal Credit Union to convert $100 into 50 $2 bills, which will then be used as conversation starters and reminders to redirect our spending power. As they circulate and people talk more about the pledge, we hope the public recognizes that local businesses provide the backbone of our economy through their services and tax dollars.
Those who sign up for the pledge will have their names included in the print and online editions of the Rocket Miner, in addition to benefiting from the knowledge that they’re making an immediate, positive impact on friends and neighbors. The more people participate, the more we will multiply our influence.
People can sign up by visiting the Rocket Miner Office at 215 D St. in Rock Springs, mailing forms to P.O. Box 98, Rock Springs, WY 82902, by emailing their name, city and email to email@example.com, or by filling out this form: The $2 Pledge.
While $2 bills are out there circulating, they can be forgotten, like local businesses that may be overshadowed by online monoliths.
“We try to remind folks to shop locally as much as possible,” said Chad Banks, Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency manager. “We recognize that not everything is available here and understand the need for online shopping but try to encourage shoppers to give locals the first shot; they can often meet or beat the prices on Amazon and have the expertise to back it up — they know the products and how to use them.”
The Rock Springs Main Street/URA leads the $20 on the 20th campaign, which is designed to remind people to shop local monthly, rather than just at Christmas.
“Small Business Saturday continues to grow in recognition and popularity, and we’re adding Plaid Friday (on Black Friday) this year,” Banks said.
Holiday spending is expected to reach $727.9 billion to $730.7 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. It reported that holiday sales represent about 20 percent of annual retail sales each year, but the figure can be higher for some businesses, such as hobby, toy or game stores.
Each year about 40 percent of consumers begin their holiday shopping before Halloween. The busiest shopping days are usually Black Friday after Thanksgiving and the last Saturday before Christmas, which will be Dec. 21 this year.
In 2018, during the five-day shopping period that started on Thanksgiving – which included Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday — an estimated 165 million people shopped during the period, spending an average $313.
Increased sales can mean more jobs. The NRF estimates retailers will hire between 530,000 and 590,000 temporary workers during the 2019 holiday season. Retailers hired 554,000 temporary workers during the 2018 holiday season.
The first $2 bill was issued in 1862 with a portrait of Alexander Hamilton. In 1869, it was redesigned to feature Thomas Jefferson, who is still on the bill today.
The U.S. Treasury website stresses that the $2 bill is still a circulating denomination of United States paper currency. As of April 30, 2007, there was $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide.
However, the Federal Reserve System does not request the printing of that denomination as often as the others. The last series was printed in 2013.
“The key for successfully circulating the $2 bill is for retailers to use them just like any other denomination in their daily operations,” the website states. “However, neither the Department of the Treasury nor the Federal Reserve System can force the distribution or use of any denomination of currency on banks, businesses or individuals.”