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What’s in fashion, maps or apps?

Ron Martino explains his idea of a maps as well as apps highlighting all of Newburyport's vintage, antiques, thrift stores and consignment shops.

Photo by Jake Beman on Unsplash
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Sitting recently with my friend Art from the ACES Alliance ( in The Coffee Factory, we spoke of how good the ideas of reuse and repurpose were for the environment.

As we chatted, it clearly came into focus. Newburyport is an epicenter of that complex of culture and business that really encourages these two important components for any environmental strategies for the future.

As we enumerated places like the Leeward Light, Oldies and Mill 77, we continued to add up all the places that contribute to this ethic of reuse.

We listed off places and habits such as Todd Farm Flea Market, the Green Plum on State, the city’s own robust recycling efforts, and the way people just leave their good stuff streetside and how quickly there are eager pickers.

The more we talked, the more we agreed that a good map of such places and with the help of the Chamber of Commerce, might be able to promote both Newburyport businesses while promoting ecotourism, something that is good for the planet.

We parted, agreeing to revisit the topic at a later date.

Two weeks later, in the same coffee shop, two fortysomething women are looking for a place to sit, and since I’m about to leave, I offer them the table. Then, I said, "Do you mind if I ask a question about something a few of us were working on?”

They said, "Of course not" and I proceeded to describe the idea of making a map of vintage, antiques, thrift stores and consignment shops.

With a burst of laughter, they almost simultaneously said, “You need an app, not a map.” Then, they waved their smartphones and said that when they go anywhere with friends or family, they always ask their phones for suggestions.

The more we spoke, the more they loved the idea and made one more suggestion: To add local farm stands to the app, since those things went together in their minds as a weekend outing cluster of things they like to do.

An app, not a map, was needed.

Three weeks later, walking with my wife around downtown, we headed to The Tannery to use the ATM and my wife swings into Gentry’s, the women's fashion consignment shop, to look around.

At that point, I ask the young saleswoman, who turns out to be an owner of the shop, about the app vs. map idea. She says, of course, you need an app and it needs to accommodate every store’s social media handles whether on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc.

As if on cue, just as she says TikTok, three high school-age women walk into the shop with serious searching and shopping intent. The shopkeeper says, "These young kids are all into 'thrifting' as a way to be fashionable yet climate friendly. I see a lot of them in here."

It seems they care about the fabric used, too. Natural ones like linen, cotton and silk are preferred — not petroleum-based synthetics.

In the face of the dramatic and urgent climate crisis, it's not just the governmental top of the food chain that we need doing the right thing. We need all levels of our American civilization to help with the environment. And if looking good and helping a business prosper are a part of that, cool!

If that takes a new app to help catalyze and support good habits of thrift and style, great.

Maybe, as a younger generation rises at the Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry, they can bring more people into town with a “vintage, antique, consignment, thrifting" app-map or map-app or M(App)?

Ron Martino lives in Newburyport and publishes "GreenTalkDaily" on Twitter @ronmartino4.

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Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

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