Davis Dollars revamps currency

The Davis Dollars organization, which is designed to promote the use of a local currency in the city of Davis, has changed its exchange rate in an attempt to make the currency more appealing to business owners.

The Davis Dollars organization, which is designed to promote the use of a local currency in the city of Davis, has changed its exchange rate in an attempt to make the currency more appealing to business owners.

For those unaware of what Davis Dollars are, the organization allows community member to purchase 10 “dollars” at $9.50, which can be spent at various places around town.

“Basically one of the appeals is that once you have Davis Dollars, you can spend it within the Davis community just like regular money and it makes our economy stronger,” said Ann Barzman, a junior economics major and intern for Davis Dollars. “Also on our website we have people posting services that they offer and want, so others within the Davis community can benefit.”

Davis Dollars can be spent at an ever-growing list of business around town, including Watermelon Music and Copyland. In addition to physical business, individuals can post services that they are either offering or looking for, similar to Craigslist.

“This nonprofit organization also allows Davis locals to buy and sell goods and services online, which serves as a great social means of strengthening our community and empowering the Davis consumer,” said Valerie Francisco, junior international relations major and intern for Davis Dollars, in an e-mail interview.

In addition, the Davis Dollars services are often open to bargaining, where other services or money can be bartered for the service being offered or looked for.

But since its founding a few years ago, Davis Dollars has changed its currency exchange rate to make the bills more appealing to community businesses. As opposed to the previous 1 US dollar to 1 Davis Dollar ratio, consumers can now buy 1 Davis dollar for 95 cents.

“Now the Davis Dollar is equivalent to the U.S. dollar,” Francisco said. “Locals may buy the Davis Dollar at a price of $1 and sell at a U.S. dollar return price of $0.95. This way, businesses that accept Davis Dollars only lose 5 percent of their profit when converting them to U.S. dollars.”

For the community members that purchase Davis Dollars, other than saving 50 cents and some visual changes of the Davis dollar, the benefit of Davis Dollars and its new exchange has stayed fairly the same.

“Consumers who purchase the Davis Dollars in the first place do so for the cause; for the purpose of strengthening the community and stimulating the Davis economy,” Francisco said. “Spending locally makes sure that each dollar stays inside of the town longer.” 

Essentially, community members who utilize Davis Dollars will be helping keep the local economy prosperous.

“I do recommend using the Davis Dollar, especially if you care about the future of Davis,” said Shelley Wong, a sophomore textiles and clothing major and intern for Davis Dollars, in an e-mail interview. “I’d like to encourage the students to spend Davis Dollars because they are a large factor of the spending that takes place in Davis.”

More information about Davis Dollars can be found at davisdollars.org.

CHARLOTTE YOUNG can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.