'PTA Shops Ptown'

Program aims to be win-win for merchants, PTA members

Pleasanton PTA Council representatives will be hitting the streets soon to drum up support for its program, PTA Shops Ptown.

The PTA Council has 5,000 members in Pleasanton from Amador Valley High School, Harvest Park Middle School, and Walnut Grove, Fairlands, Vintage Hills, Hearst, Mohr and Alisal elementary schools.

"We're waiting for the weather to improve," said Jodie Vashistha, vice president of membership. "We want to drop off our brochures."

"With what is going on with the budget crisis, we're hoping to get more businesses," she added. "They can write it off as a tax deduction."

The program has gone through a few changes since it was started four months ago, she explained. Originally the council was asking businesses to offer special deals to PTA members. Now businesses have the option of making a donation to the cause whenever a PTA member makes a purchase, or they can wait for dollars to add up from the purchases.

"One store downtown said they would rather do it where they could make a donation," Vashistha explained.

"We want to help our local businesses during these tough economic times," said Joan Laursen, Pleasanton PTA Council president. "Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a locally owned merchant, $68 stays in the local economy. When you spend $100 at a chain store, only $43 stays in the area. When you buy on-line, nothing stays local.

"Further, choosing to shop in Pleasanton helps our city by retaining sales tax revenue for our city services."

Laursen recently announced that she is a candidate for the Pleasanton school board in the Nov. 2 election.

The important thing with this program is that businesses agree to recognize PTA shoppers, and that PTA members frequent these establishments. Four businesses have signed on so far: Fusion3; Filigree Cakes and Pastries; Crispin BJJ Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; and Fabulous Friends Pet Sitting.

The PTA Council has 5,000 members in Pleasanton from Amador Valley High School, Harvest Park Middle School, and Walnut Grove, Fairlands, Vintage Hills, Hearst, Mohr and Alisal elementary schools. Participating merchants are given a PTA Shop Ptown window cling to identify themselves.

In order to participate, the business owner or manager must be a PTA member at a Pleasanton school. Anyone in Pleasanton may join any school PTA of their choosing to get the discounts; membership fees range from $10 to $18.

To learn more about the program, visit


Like this comment
Posted by Gina
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Good idea, and I hope the PTA and the merchants can work out a feasible plan and get some more stores on board.

One minor observation, though: Joan Laursen, Pleasanton PTA Council president said "When you spend $100 at a chain store, only $43 stays in the area."

That is probably true, in theory, although I haven't checked the actual numbers. What is missing from that formula is that many of those same "chain stores" do, in fact, actually really benefit our local schools by their participation in the eScrip programs. We can't buy our weekly groceries in a small downtown store, nor tires for our cars. But we CAN boost the benefit to our community and schools by making sure more people sign up for the eScrip program and designate Pleasanton schools and school programs as the beneficiary of the 1%-6% of each purchase we make with Safeway or BigO Tires. The same applies to online purchases; if you are going to buy online, make sure that a percentage of that purchase comes directly back to the community.

Ok, off my little soapbox ;) and any comments or corrections are welcomed.

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

Good for the PTA! I'm glad to see they've revised this so that merchants make a donation, instead of it just being a discount program. Walmart and Big Boxes kill local business with discounting, local merchants can't win playing that game.
I would encourage the PTA to take their "shop local" program even further - asking schools, the school district and businesses they contract with to shop local too. Preaching local support, while spending dollars with Office Depot, Scholastic, Amazon and other big guys doesn't set a good example. I have loyal customers who spend PTA money in my store, and I'm grateful, but I have never had a teacher tell me the PTA (or the PUSD) insisted they spend the money locally, and that would seem to be the logical next step.
John MacDougall
The Golden Apple Learning Store

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