More than 150 communities across North America, along with partner organizations, including The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and New England Local Business Forum, today announced the launch of their Shift Your Shopping holiday campaign, an unprecedented national campaign that encourages everyone to take job creation and economic concerns into their own hands by exercising their power to strengthen their own local economies.
The campaign seeks to build an annual tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding gift-buying experience.
“We’re asking the community to shift their purchases of food, cards, gifts, flowers and other holiday items to where it can matter most: your friends’ and neighbors’ locally-owned businesses. And while you’re at it, you’ll see some familiar faces and enjoy the experience,” said Cathy Durkan, President of The Annapolis Sustainable Business Alliance. ASBA, which is a member network of BALLE, wants to encourage Annapolis area shoppers to look for the “Buy Annapolis” counter sign, and ASBA’s Buy Local decal, which lets you know when you are in a locally-owned, independent establishment. Especially this holiday season, Shift Your Shopping to locally owned, independent businesses wherever you can. We all want the special and unique businesses in the area to continue to delight visitors and locals for a long time to come.
Americans are about to spend a large portion of their annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31—the National Retail Federation predicts about $700 per shopper. Numerous studies show that if those dollars are shifted to locally owned, independent businesses, they’ll generate 2-3 times as much economic activity in local communities than if that money had been spent at a national chain. Across North America, that could mean billions of dollars of local economic impact.
“Our locally-owned businesses are an important part of our community, offering customer service that can’t be beat, and a commitment to our community that can’t be matched,” said Dick Lahn, Director of ASBA. “Let’s support them this holiday season as they support our local economy year-round.”
Locally-owned businesses typically generate up to three times the local economic activity of national chains because independents spend more money in the local area, including using more local goods and services such as banking, printing, advertising, legal services, furnishings and more. Through this “multiplier effect,” the added taxes collected from local expenditures provide support for local schools, parks, law enforcement and more.
Numerous studies on the impact of buying from local, independent businesses have found impressive benefits. For example, a 2008 study of Kent County Michigan by Civic Economics projected shifting 10% of the county’s per capita spending from chains to locally owned independent businesses would create “almost $140 million in new economic activity and 1,600 new jobs for the region.” In addition, annual surveys over the last four years show that places that “go local” do better.
For example, last year, the Institute for Local Self Reliance gathered data on annual revenue changes from nearly 2800 independent business. That data revealed independent businesses in communities executing long-term “buy local and independent” campaigns averaged a healthy 5.6 percent increase over the previous year. This gain more than doubled the 2.1 percent increase reported by independent businesses in areas lacking such campaigns. All of those campaigns operated with support from the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and/or Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).
“Shift Your Shopping promotes the united vision and voice of thousands of real people in real communities across the U.S. and Canada committed to building strong local economies,” said BALLE Executive Director, Michelle Long. Beyond the economic impacts, Shift Your Shopping is also about celebrating the uniqueness of your local community, AMIBA Director Jennifer Rockne said, “By shifting the focus of holiday shopping to locally owned, independent businesses, we can strengthen our communities and economy, create more jobs and — equally important — we can enjoy more relaxed and rewarding experiences doing holiday shopping.”
The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) are both national organizations dedicated to supporting local business alliances across the United States and Canada. Find more information about the national Shift Your Shopping campaign, which runs from November through December, at www.ShiftYourShopping.org.