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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:29 am 
Investing in local economic development isn't as easy as putting money into retirement account vehicles, or buying stocks, or buying into a mutual fund. It's a lot more like growing a garden (although the business operators are doing most of the work). There aren't many of us who are going raise all their own food, and quit going to the grocery store. (I kind of had that fantasy - hardcore self-sufficient homesteading - 40 years ago, and gave it a lot of effort. I worked very hard, had good times and rough times, and learned that it is far easier, and better, to work with a community. Simply put, I couldn't do everything for myself, unless I severely simplified the idea of what "everything" would consist of.)

Conventional investing "instruments" have been slickly packaged to be easy to buy, to be safe, with returns that have been historically satisfactory, though that scenario has degraded significantly in recent years. Either I am getting smarter, or it is becoming more obvious that a great deal of The Economy is based on global speculation and manipulation. The growing wealth gap also means that control of The Economy is more than ever controlled by a relative few who are completely disinterested in our community and our quality of life. Most of America is seen as an oil deposit to be drilled and pumped, as quickly and profitably as possible, with no thought to sustainability.

Just like in the garden metaphor, we can't quit the national chain grocery overnight, but common sense says the we should be tending a good garden.

Some of the ways I have learned about to invest locally include: start a business; collaborate with other businesses; personal loans; membership in a Limited Liability Company (LLC); membership in a co-op; active participation in community projects; publicly funded projects; crowd-funding; active participation in nonprofits; share; donate.

There are possibilities of creating some more bank-like, or Wall Street-like entities that can make local investing easier and more "normal. There could be an investment club, which would need to be professionally organized and managed to comport with SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) regulations. There could be a loan fund, also needing professional management. A willing bank or credit union could be recruited to evolve its mission to be primarily for community investment (see the Bank of North Dakota: http://prospect.org/article/people’s-bank-0 ). There is also a new LLC version called a Low-profit Limited Liability Company (L3C for short), where foundations can invest in for-profit ventures that are mission compatible.

Crowdfunding, which until very recently was restricted to donation-for-a-product-later-maybe, has some newly published rules (still being vetted by the IRS) that allow the sale of equity (securities, as in the SEC name).

During the past six months, the Murray Hotel has been engaged in setting up a much older version of crowdfunding, the Direct Public Offering (DPO). (Full disclosure, I am a member of the Murray Hotel LLC). The DPO was part of the original Securities Act of 1933, which regulates the exchange of securities, but for some reason it is not well known. The MH has always wanted to be a "community owned enterprise" for many of the reasons stated in my earlier articles - if the ownership of the business (one of the money coming into the community type) is local and broadly shared, then the profits will circulate in the community. Other benefits include improving the sense of community with a historical icon as a symbol-in-use, and raising the profile of Silver City as a great place to visit.

Murray Hotel LLC has filed notice of a DPO with the state regulators, and the selling of equity units has begun.

To learn more about local investment possibilities, the Green Chamber is sponsoring a Local Investment Opportunity Network gathering next Thursday, Jan. 21, 5:30, at the Murray Hotel, either in the Martha Room or the Ballroom, depending on turnout. The featured topic will be the MH DPO, but any subject will be open for discussion.

Last edited by gorwest on Fri Jan 29, 2016 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:37 am 
Green Chamber Sponsors Informational Meeting to Discuss Murray Hotel Direct Public Offering Thursday, January 21 at 5:30 pm, The Murray Hotel Martha Room

Open to the public, light refreshments will be served
Members of the Local Investment Opportunity Network have a new tool for raising small business capital: the Direct Public Offering

There’s no question that one of the best and surest ways to promote the health of our local economy is to invest locally. In a time when more and more local businesses are being displaced by regional and national chains and franchises, it’s not as easy to make a statement with our shopping habits as it used to be, and conventional investment vehicles, while intended to be easy and safe, are often run by companies that have little interest in the economic health or quality of life in a small community like ours. The sale of equity in a business to raise capital can be complex and unwieldy, but the Direct Public Offering (DPO) is much more small business friendly. The DPO is authorized by the federal Securities Exchange Commission.

Investing locally remains the best option for keeping our money in our own community, and there are a number of options for doing this, including: starting a business, collaborating with other businesses, personal loans, membership in a Limited Liability Company (LLC), membership in a co­op, active participation in community projects, publicly funded projects, crowdfunding, active participation in nonprofits, sharing, and donating.

As you know, the Murray Hotel has risen from the ashes in recent years, transformed from a huge, looming eyesore and squat for transients into a beautifully restored, Art Deco landmark and functioning downtown business. The restoration has been carried out using Green building materials, local labor, and energy efficient systems, and the owners who have accomplished this monumental task have always been thoroughly committed to the belief that not only does this remarkable piece of Silver City history deserve to be restored in its own right, but also that as a business it can make a vital contribution to the economic health and social rejuvenation of our Historic Downtown business district.

The Murray Hotel has always intended to be a community ­owned enterprise, to help put local money to work at a local level, and to be able to spread the benefits of its success within the community. For the last six months, the Murray’s operating members have been working on a version of crowdfunding known as the Direct Public Offering (DPO). The idea and purpose behind making a DPO as opposed to a Wall Street­ type of offering is that if the ownership of the business is local and broadly shared, then the profits will circulate in the community. Other benefits include strengthening our sense of community, and as the business grows and succeeds, the ripple effect of the financial benefit to other local businesses, and of raising the profile of Silver City as a great place to visit.

The DPO will be offered for a limited time, and proceeds will be used to complete restorations and additions that will increase the Murray’s revenues. They will include a kitchen that can serve meals and cater events at the hotel, finishing work on the first floor, and completion of meeting rooms, a restaurant, and additional guest rooms that will provide greater capacity for conventions.

If you’d like to learn more about this local investment opportunity, the Green Chamber is sponsoring a Local Investment Opportunity Network gathering next Thursday, 5:30, in the Murray Hotel’s Martha Room. The featured topic will be the Murray Hotel DPO, but any subject on local investing will be open for discussion.

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