The Ale House has been using BNotes since July 2011, when it opened. Flynn said he's seen the currency's usefulness grow as more businesses have joined in. One of the local brewers who supplies his bar is considering accepting Bnotes, he said.
Flynn said he would like to see BNotes transition to electronic form soon because cash can be cumbersome. Gouldener said they're considering a pay-by-text system, which avoids debit-style payments that feed money to corporations, like Visa and MasterCard, outside Baltimore.
Newcomers to BNotes, meanwhile, still are getting used to the current setup. The Woman's Industrial Exchange joined the BNote network in March and is ramping up its use of the bills, said Stephanie Halley, the exchange's executive director of mission services and external affairs. The exchange, on North Charles Street in the downtown, also became a cambio.
The local currency has been simple to adopt, Halley said, and once BNotes start flowing more steadily, the exchange will use them to buy practical items like office supplies.
"It's going to encourage us to use those dollars with the mom-and-pops instead of the larger suppliers," Halley said. "It encourages relationship development."
The BNote's success isn't making its organizers complacent. The association always is looking for ways to improve the system, Gouldener said.
The group would like to have another print run soon in denominations of 10 and 20, she said. "They're just handy."
The association is considering a design contest for the new denominations. Gouldener would like to see the new bills have female figures printed on them, she added.
Another thing that would help the system would be to have a paid staff person, she said. It's difficult for the volunteer group — there are fewer than a half-dozen members who do the bulk of the work — to count and deposit the money that's been exchanged at the cambios, manage communications with participating businesses and conduct education about the local currency system throughout the city, Gouldener said.
"We do find more often than not that people have at least heard of the BNote — even if they're not using it yet — and that's very encouraging," Dicken said, but there's still a lot of work to be done to spread the word about the BNote's purpose.
"It's a challenge to us to shake people out of their ordinary routine," said Dicken, who wants to see landlords and even the city government begin accepting BNotes.
"Ultimately, we want the BNote to be used for all local transactions that don't require dollars," he said. "That's how we make our city's economy sustainable."
Baltimore Sun reporter Jamie Smith Hopkins contributed to this article.