In 2006, a group of Traverse City residents launched Bay Bucks, hoping to get more people to spend locally.
Bay Bucks are now accepted and circulated by roughly 100 local businesses. A couple of local nonprofit organizations are now even paying part of employees' salaries in the currency.
"We look at Bay Bucks as our own local stimulus program," said Mo Charbonneau, the currency's administrator. "People using Bay Bucks look at the directory of businesses accepting them and shop at stores they wouldn't have thought to shop at before."
And some of the people who may not typically receive money for their services have also benefited. Jobs were created for a group of musicians, for example, when local organic food co-op Oryana hired them to play in its café because it was able to pay them in Bay Bucks.
The currency comes in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 20 units and features images of regional animals and plants, like a white-tailed deer, a barn owl, a cherry blossom and a morel mushroom.
More communities turn to local currencies to stimulate their economies.
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