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Connecting the Dots to Build Social Capital

Aqus co-owner John Crowley has long preached the value of social capital. Now he's organizing a festival meant to bring businesses, organizations and people with the goal spurring connections, commerce and innovation

Admit it.

"Shop local" has become a bit of a worn phrase. 

But what if you look at it in terms of what each person contributes to their local economy, whether it’s sandwiches, stories or accounting skills, and begin connecting the dots between them?

That’s what co-owner John Crowley has been preaching for years from his java-steeped pulpit on Second Street. Now he’s taking his desire to build “social capital” by organizing Petaluma Palooza, a community expo that will bring local companies, organizations and residents together to meet, greet and form new connections.

The event is being organized by Aqus Community, which Crowley describes as a membership-driven hive of social capital he and several friends formed last year. It now has 100 participating businesses and close to 1,000 members.

"When you have a strong connection between people, there is an increase in trust, creative engagement and commerce in the community,” says Crowley. “Studies have shown that where there are strong communities, people are healthier, happier and their sense of well-being is stronger.”

At the free expo, attendees will be able to scope out local companies and nonprofits, listen to mini lectures on everything from micro finance to nutrition to how to research historic buildings. There will also be arts and crafts for all ages, and music. The expo is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 and will be held at the on Lakeville and D streets.

The goal is to give smaller businesses who can’t afford to participate in the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo (where booths run up to $375) a chance to promote themselves.

“We want people to discover the hidden treasures of Petaluma and say ‘Wow, I had no idea this was here,'” says Crowley.

Petaluma Palooza: A Community Expo will be held Saturday, September 15 at the Petaluma Arts Center 2-6pm. Admission is free.

Alyssa September 07, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Look for Photographer Leslie Kurchack's fabulous 2013 eco-calendar on sale at the Daily Acts booth-- it benefits the work of Daily Acts and is lovely!
john crowley September 07, 2012 at 06:44 PM
- Petaluma Arts Council will be offering free art classes all afternoon for kids and adults - ongoing 10 minute short talks on topics ranging from health an wellness to harmonic singing to internet marketing. - Art in the Garden pre-school - St.Vincent's School - Learn Spanish with a fun game - Petaluma People's services / Senior Center - Phoenix Theater - Art for kids - Body Works Yoga - Capoeira Petaluma - Talk from Project Censored - Petaluma City Ballet and plenty more
Active Thinker September 23, 2012 at 08:17 PM
It would be great to have Petaluma money...this would truly make us local. Towns back east have done this and it makes the money stay local...John is doing an amazing thing. Great work and please keep the fight to live alive.

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