Local Alliances Ready for Independents Week

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The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has an abundance of free resources available to local IBAs and businesses planning Independents Week celebrations, this year from July 1 - 7. Among the materials are logos, button and banner designs, proclamations, “how-to” documents, and suggested activity lists, all downloadable from amiba.net. There are also numerous examples, with visuals, of ideas that have worked in the past for local alliances around the country. Retailers and local groups are invited to pick and choose from AMIBA’s materials to create custom celebrations for their communities.

“According to our latest survey of AMIBA affiliate groups, 94 percent plan to participate in Indie Week 2011,” said AMIBA Director Jennifer Rockne, who noted that the weeklong celebration is “such a positive and visible vehicle for bringing citizens in touch with local businesses” that “it’s been embraced as an event folks just mark on their calendar every year as routine.”

Because July is a slow time for many businesses due to vacations and other activities that keep families busy, Rockne said, “increasingly, we’re seeing participating groups employing variations of a scavenger hunt to pique citizens’ interest and bring them into businesses — and there will be some pretty lucky winners this year.”

Among the events, and prizes, Rockne noted:

  • The successful scavengers in Will County, Illinois, home of Will Buy Locally, will receive a 46” flat screen TV, an iPad, and a box suite for Joliet Slammers baseball games.
  • Citizens in the Twin Cities have the chance to win a $50 gift card to each of the Metro IBA member businesses participating in its celebration.
  • The Louisville IBA is hosting a festival of locally crafted beer as part of its Indie Week in Louisville, Kentucky. Attendees will be encouraged to sign a “Declaration of Independents,” pledging to shift some current spending to locally owned businesses. Signers will be entered to win a hand-blown beer stein from LIBA member, Glassworks.
  • Other IBAs will be marching with big banners or riding floats in parades — a great way to engage the pubic and distribute the message, coupons, and treats.

In a promotion “that will resonate with ABAers,” Rockne said, a toy store owner in Hillsborough, New Jersey, will give customers seven percent (or the exact sales tax amount) cash back for purchases over Independents weekend to thank them for choosing to shop local and independent and to highlight the disadvantage under which locally owned businesses operate because Internet retailers like Amazon.com avoid their obligations to collect sales tax.

ABA members looking for additional resources that can be adapted for their Independents Week celebrations will find a sample poster, ad slick, website banner, and more for an “Indieville” Independents Week in ABA’s Bookseller DIY. A downloadable flier also offers talking points emphasizing the benefits of shopping locally. Help customizing materials in the Bookseller DIY is available from ABA Marketing Manager Paige Poe.