American Independent Business Alliance campaign: Communities Nationwide Celebrate “Independents Week”
As the United States celebrates the anniversary of declaring independence from outside control, communities nationwide are using the occasion to celebrate independent businesses that provide opportunities for personal freedom, local self-reliance and form the backbone of most local economies. The eighth annual Independents Week is a celebration of entrepreneurism supported by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), but implemented by local businesses and organizations using their own creativity.
Communities and participating organizations and businesses have secured municipal proclamations and are hosting community festivals, concerts and other events to mark the occasion. Examples include:
The Tampa Independent Business Alliance, which pioneered Independents Week before it became a national event, is expanding their campaign to Independents Month (and even started early with a June 24 kick-off bash!).
Shop Local Raleigh kicks off with an Independents Week Crawl. Locals who complete a game card by visiting 12 members are entered into a drawing for one of seven shopping sprees at their favorite SLR member! They also will run TV ads to promote the week.
The Louisville IBA is celebrating Independents Week by hosting their 3rd annual Brewfest (including regional wineries as well as brewers). Attendees will be encouraged to sign a “Declaration of Independents,” a pledge to shift some current spending to locally owned businesses. The 2010 Brewfest drew more than 2,000 beer aficionados.Rick Grossman, owner of participating business Learning Express Toy Store in Hillsborough, NJ, said, “We are always at a 7% disadvantage over Internet stores. We are going to give our customers 7% back in cold-hard cash after their purchase this weekend.” Customers will be escorted to a special cash register where they will receive their refund in the amount of the sales tax they paid. “We will thank them for shopping at an Independent store and hand them a flyer about the importance of shopping locally.”
Public education is at the core of Independents Week. “Where we choose to spend our money plays a vital role in forming the character of our communities,” said Jennifer Rockne, director of AMIBA. By patronizing locally-owned businesses, we not only can get competitive values, but create more opportunity and wealth within our communities. The events also help inform government officials, said Rockne. “Many elected officials aren’t aware their hometown businesses provide far greater local economic benefit from each sales dollar than chains. Our role is to help them make more informed decisions.”
AMIBA is a non-profit organization helping communities launch and successfully operate "buy local" campaigns, group purchasing and marketing initiatives, and other efforts to support community-rooted enterprise. Communities create these initiatives through existing organizations or launch new Independent Business Alliances. AMIBA serves more than 70 local affiliates around the country.
-- Resources from AMIBA for Independents Week