Shop Talk : Our Island Club
Well, we made it through winter, and spring is officially here, but some of us are still in the save-what-you-can mode with money. Who can blame us? We work hard and want to make our money stretch as far as it can. One way to do that is to become a member of Our Island Club.
Haven't heard of Our Island Club? Co-founder Geoff Rose was kind enough to answer a few questions about their program that gives discounts to members and donates to local charities.
Katryn: What inspired you to start the Our Island Club?
Geoff: "Jonathan Bernstein became a full-time resident in 2000, when he and his family moved from Los Angeles. I became a full-time resident in 2001, when we moved from Connecticut. Both had been summer residents. Having a family of five, Bernstein looked forward to the fall when prices would return to "normal." He kept waiting and waiting and waiting. It finally dawned on him that prices were not going to return to normal. So he pondered the idea of a savings program that would help year-round Islanders who were challenged by the high prices. After all, he reasoned, these people were the backbone of the community."
Three years later Jonathan and Geoff Rose met. Geoff had started a gift certificate service for Vineyard businesses. "Keep it local," was always his thinking. So he warmed to Bernstein's idea. In short order, Our Island Club was designed to provide savings on essential products (food, home heating, and gasoline) as well as at restaurants, retail stores, and services. Also, it was going to benefit local charities and it needed to insure that qualified low-income individuals and families could join for free.
Katryn: What can people look forward to when they join?
Geoff: "Cronig's, Island Propane and Jim's Gasoline, each exclusive businesses, recognized the value the program could provide to year-round residents. Over time, more and more businesses have joined. Four and a half years later, Our Island Club has more than 3,500 members, 150-plus local businesses provide savings to the members, and more than $120,000 has been donated to local charities."
Katryn: On average, what is the annual amount you think a family of four might save with a membership?
Geoff: "A family of four can save $1,000 to $1,500 a year. All for an annual membership of $99."
To learn more about joining (memberships range from $59 to $99 based on age and family size) you can check them out on the web at ourislandclub.com or visit one of their three in-person sites: Educomp and Mosher Photo in Vineyard Haven, and the Mailroom at the Triangle in Edgartown.