#buyingitforward - Follow the $100 travel through Downtown Medicine Hat

Posted on : Monday, April 20, 2020


Medicine Hat knows how to keep things positive. Even in the midst of the current health crisis, you’ll find neighbours celebrating birthdays with balloons and car horns, shoppers offering thanks through masks at the grocery store, and strangers waving from a distance as they safely share a sidewalk. It’s the same attitude that left a $100 on the counter at Gravity Sports earlier this month.  

On a regular Tuesday in early April, a man walked into the downtown shop looking for pedals for the training bike in his basement. Mike, one of mechanics at Gravity, showed him a pair of used pedals and offered them to him for $10. Instead, the anonymous customer laid down a $100 bill. Mike tried to hand him his change but he refused, saying he appreciated the shop and wanted to see it stay in business.



“We thought that was kind of cool and sat on it for a couple days,” Ben, the owner of Gravity, says. He and his shopmates weren’t sure what to do next. “I figured, well, we might as well buy shop beers.” But on the way to the liquor store, Ben kept thinking. He wanted to keep the spirit of the gesture alive. That’s when he decided to buy local. “‘Oh, I’ll get it from Travois,’ I thought, ‘I’ll buy a $100 worth of beer and suggest to them to move it on to another business, and we’ll see how far this $100 goes!”

Ben called Travois and Jacques picked up the phone. When Ben explained what he hoped to do, Jacques thought it was a great idea. He talked it over with his business partners, and together they decided to pass the dollars up the street to Madhatter Roastery, where they buy their coffee beans. “We try to support the other local businesses,” he says. He’s excited to see how many businesses end up participating. “We hope it keeps going for a long time and shows the importance of how it is to support local, especially during these times.” 



After a few days, Josh and Katrina from Madhatter called Darin, the taproom manager at Local Pub. They walked down to meet him at the restaurant. “Kat and Josh showed up and, basically, they’re like, ‘Tag - you’re it!’” Darin says.  

“We want to keep it downtown again,” Darin says. “We want to focus on who’s been impacted by everything.”

Ben from Gravity heard about the gesture inspiring others in the community as well. “I got a phone call from the lady at Cafe Verve,” he says. “She received a phone call from a customer of hers that said, “Yeah, I heard of this $100 ‘shop local’ thing and I want to buy $100 worth of coffee off you.” I thought that was super cool, to see it spin off like that.” 



He hopes they can reach as much of Medicine Hat as possible. “Talking to Travois and Madhatter’s, we’re going to see if we can run it through 50 businesses. We figured, if every business that “touches” that $100 bill would put $100 into a kitty, we can end up with a $5,000 donation to the food bank at the end of it. It’s just a gesture that’s snowballing into a thing, hopefully.” In a community like Medicine Hat, we’d say that’s likely.

Businesses who have joined the #Buyingitforward movement

Gravity Sports
Travois Ale Works
Madhatter Roastery
Local Public Eatery
- Labels for Men
- The Hat's Olive Tap
- Kitchen kaboodle
- Red Velvet Hair and Body Bar
- Botanicals 
- Tiki Press
- Grit City 
- Mike's Meats 
- Steiners 
- Medicine Hat Brewing Co. 
- Skinny's Smokehouse 
- Hoopla's Family Entertainment Centre