Local Retailers Declare Their Independence in Month-Long Promotion

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Tomorrow, July 1, marks the start of Independent Retailer Month, a four-week-long celebration of local businesses.

Conceived by small business consultant Tom Shay and fashion events producer Kerry Bannigan, Independent Retailer Month is designed to promote independent businesses and trumpet the economic, social and environmental benefits of shopping local.

Among the statistics amassed by the campaign: Every $100 spent at an independent retailer generates $45 of secondary local spending, vs. $14 for a big-box chain. What’s more, a study in New Orleans found that if residents and visitors shifted 10 percent of their spending from retail chains to local dealers, it would generate an additional $235 million a year in local economic activity, creating many new jobs and opportunities.

To help get the message across, the organizers are providing downloadable posters, postcards and logos that are designed to raise awareness of your store and encourage shoppers to support small business. In addition, the site offers a host of easy-to-execute activities to help celebrate Independent Retailer Month and promote your hometown shop. Among them:

  • Happy Hour: Offer red, white and blue cookies or cupcakes with refreshments to promote your independence.
  • Shopping Crawl: Team up with neighboring independent retailers to host a shopping crawl, replete with map and prizes for participants. (See Schomackers Joins Main Street Wine Walk.)
  • Charity Giving: Donate 10 percent of sales on select items or during a specified period to a community charity.
  • Community Talent: Support local designers, artists or DJ’s by hosting a joint in-store activity.
  • Run a Contest: Offer the chance for one lucky winner and friends to have a private shopping party in your showroom.

“We encourage people to shop independent retail year ’round,” the organizers said, “and to use July as a time to celebrate the independent retailers that help build our economy, creating more sustainable cities, towns and communities.”

For more information, visit IndieRetailerMonth.com.