Independent Retailer Month is a promotional campaign to show to consumers the value in doing business with an independent retailer. The month-long shopping movement marks July as an time for communities to celebrate the diversity of local independent retail whilst stimulating the economy.
Throughout a range of in-store, online and community events Independent Retailer Month connects consumers to the independent retailer sector highlighting their positive social and economic impact.
Facts & Figures:
According to the Indiana Main Street program:
• All the making, buying and selling you keep in the community is far more economically productive for the community than anything that simply flows through the community. Indiana Main Streets and others have determined that only 6 cents of every dollar spent with a big box retailer stays in the community. For a chain store it's 20 cents of every dollar, but every dollar spent with a sole proprietorship keeps 60 cents circulating in the community.
According to South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc:
• It is the multiplier effect. When you shop locally-owned businesses, money will stay in the community 3 times longer! Local businesses and artists tend to buy from local suppliers and hire service providers such as printers, accountants, lawyers. This means more jobs in the community.
According to the Northwest Earth Institute's Choices for Sustainable Living:
• A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent 6 to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community. That's good news! The organization also states that when you spend $1 at a national chain store, 80% of the money leaves town immediately.
According to the Andersonville, Illinois Study of Retail Economics in 2004:
• For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remains in the local economy. That same $100 spent with a chain firm results in only $43 remaining in the local community; a difference of $25 per $100!
• For every square foot occupied by a local firm, the impact on the local economy is $179. Yet that same square foot occupied by a chain firm results in a local impact of only $105; a difference of $74 per square foot!
According to AMIBA (American Independent Business Alliance) in 2010:
• Their survey found that holiday sales for independent retailers were up an average of 2.2%. That contrasts with the U.S. Department of Commerce figures, which show that overall retail sales were down 0.3% in December and up 1.8% in November.
The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active "Buy Independent / Buy Local" or "Local First" campaigns reported stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns.
The "Buy Local Western North Carolina" organization provides many other reasons why an individual should shop locally as well as why local and state governments would want locally owned businesses:
• Local businesses are superior generators of wealth for the community. Every dollar spent at one local business stays in town a little longer as profit for other local businesses. Local businesses that expand create jobs at all pay levels. Every dollar spent locally also furthers the possibility that some of our unique businesses will grow and perhaps expand out of our area, as some already have done bringing outside dollars into our communities.
• Local businesses tend to give more to community causes and support local media. Many of the non-profit organizations that serve our communities are supported largely by local businesses, and our local radio stations, newspapers, and television stations are kept alive by local business advertisements.
• Local business owners and employees often have more knowledge and expertise. The benefit of going to a local business for a product or service is that local businesses often specialize. This creates better customer service. Music-store owners know a great deal about music, trade businesses usually have expertise specific to the area when it comes to building or repairing structures, florists know flowers, and small hardware-store owners know tools. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more once for a quality product or service than twice for an inferior one.
• Local businesses generally require less infrastructure investment. With a smaller footprint, local businesses tend to require less from our governments in the way of infrastructure services. This lowers both the initial and ongoing maintenance costs to taxpayers.
• Local businesses usually have less of an environmental impact. Local businesses generally set up in the center of town or in existing commercial corridors. Local businesses often also buy locally produced products, services, and materials, cutting down on pollution caused by transporting goods around the world. Local manufacturing facilities and industries are also restricted by our laws as to the amount of environmental damage they can legally cause, and local business contracts keep some of these industries afloat.
• Local businesses provide the most new jobs nationally, and new local businesses have the potential to create high-paying jobs in the form of business ownership. Local businesses can also collectively achieve a larger local economy by finding new small niches that are often missed by non-local businesses.
Where it all began:
Independent Retailer Month started life in the USA and was born from the collaboration of two very different individuals who share a common desire to salute independent retailers around the globe. In 2003, Tom Shay, principal of Profits Plus, created a holiday, 'National Independent Retailer Week', to show retailers how they could create celebrations for their communities, industries and own businesses.
In 2009 Kerry Bannigan, Founder and CEO of Nolcha, devised ‘Independent Retail Week’, a week-long, city-wide, shopping extravaganza in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Jersey advancing the business of independent fashion retailers. This initiative worked with over 300 retailers, garnered support from the city’s tourism boards, chambers of commerce and Mayor’s office; with features on NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS.
Early 2011 discussions began between Bannigan and Shay as they wanted to be inclusive of everyone that had some form of recognition for independent retailing. July 2011 Independent Retailer Month USA was born with the goal to become a global campaign highlighting the important role local merchant’s play in the community, economy and overall retail sector. The campaign expanded to the United Kingdom led by Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion.
In 2012 the global campaign expanded to Canada, led by Barbara Crowhurst from Retail Makeover.
Independent Retailer Month Objectives:
* Impact the independent retail sector globally with relevant support, expertise and insights
* Connect consumers and communities to local retail merchants reminding them of the benefits of shopping local
* Engage small business organizations, networks and thought leaders to demonstrate the importance of independent retail to the global, national and local economy