Intranational trade

Localopoly, the newest old-fashioned game in town, will give charity-minded players a chance to pass go while giving $200 (or whatever they’re prepared to give). The playful event, which happens Friday, Sept. 10 from 7-10 p.m. — is a fund-raiser for the Asheville-based Mountain Microenterprise Fund. A board game come to life, the nonprofit’s 15th-anniversary celebration will feature properties to be purchased, “chance” and “community chest” cards, and trips to jail (where a “bailiff” will accept cash or checks as bail).

Participants can bid on donated items in the silent auction, or enjoy a live auction featuring elaborately coiffed dogs, stilt walkers on critter legs, swing dancers and more. Food and music will round out the program.

The gala will kick off the MMF’s Buy Local Bonanza, a weeklong celebration of WNC businesses that will culminate in another festive gathering This one happens Friday, Sept. 17 from 5:30-8 p.m. in Pritchard Park. It will feature live bluegrass music, food and prizes — all donated by MMF alumni.

According to the nonprofit’s mission statement, “Mountain Microenterprise Fund delivers knowledge and resources so that people from underserved communities can develop their own businesses.” More than 1,800 people have completed the MMF Foundation course (as the group calls its “small business 101″ offering), and more than 900 businesses run by alums are now operating in 12 WNC counties.

Development Director Mary Anne Tierney told Xpress: “Initially our role was primarily to help new businesses get started, but now that we have so many alumni in business, we have found that they need support later. So a growing function is to help existing businesses stay in business.”

Through it all, promoting local trade has been a consistent goal. MMF Executive Director Greg Walker-Wilson emphasized this angle in a recent conversation. “We want the community to know how important it is to support local business, because those companies really put resources back into the community,” he said. “A recent study in Austin, Texas, showed that out of every $100 spent at a chain bookstore, $13 stayed in the community, while with a locally owned store, $35-$40 stayed in the local economy.”

Besides raising money, Localopoly is also intended to raise the awareness of both consumers and businesses about the importance of buying local, notes Walker-Wilson.

Seeking to practice what it preaches while giving local craft businesses a boost, the nonprofit opened Mountain Made in Asheville’s Grove Arcade last year. The craft gallery displays the work of 85 WNC artisans, one-third of whom are MMF alumni.

The Localopoly Gala will feature live jazz and swing music by alumni Daniel Barber and Kat Williams and food by alumnus Hector Diaz of Salsa’s Mexican-Caribbean Restaurant. Suggested dress is “fun evening attire.”

Admission is $35, and only 175 tickets will be sold. They’re available at the MMF office (29-1/2 Page Ave.) or by phone (any remaining tickets will be sold at the door).

For more information, call the Mountain Microenterprise Fund at 253-2834.

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About Cecil Bothwell
A writer for Mountain Xpress since three years before there WAS an MX--back in the days of GreenLine. Former managing editor of the paper, founding editor of the Warren Wilson College environmental journal, Heartstone, member of the national editorial board of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, publisher of Brave Ulysses Books, radio host of "Blows Against the Empire" on WPVM-LP 103.5 FM, co-author of the best selling guide Finding your way in Asheville. Lives with three cats, macs and cacti. His other car is a canoe. Paints, plays music and for the past five years has been researching and soon to publish a critical biography--Billy Graham: Prince of War:

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