Creating a local currency can help entrepreneurs drive sales.
At Tom's Toys in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, some customers don't pay with cash or credit. Instead, they use a newly printed local currency that's good only in the Southern Berkshires. The money, known as BerkShares, is purchased for 90 cents on the dollar but is redeemable at full price at participating stores. The goal is to encourage shoppers to buy from local merchants. "I think of it as a goodwill form of advertising," says Tom's Toys owner Tom Levin.
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