July is Independent Retailer Month. This is a period of time when consumers across the country are encouraged to shop at the small guys in recognition of the positive social and economic contributions they make to local communities and beyond.
Independent Retailer Month was first launched in the U.S. and the U.K. in 2011, with Canada following a year later. The program started as a collaboration between Tom Shay, who created National Independent Retailer Week in 2003, and Kerry Bannigan, co-founder of Nolcha Fashion Week, who launched Independent Retail Week in 2009.
The pitch for why consumers should patronize independents is pretty well known at this point. Dollars spent at local merchants help the communities they serve.
According to the Independent Retailer Month website, "A dollar spent at an independent retailer is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, you create $5 to $14 in value within that community. Shopping with an independent retailer supports local traders, their suppliers and the people they depend on to run their businesses. Buying from an independent retailer boosts your local economy, rebuilding confidence in the community, enabling local businesses to prosper and grow."
ShopIndieRetail.com, a new online shopping guide, has launched to help highlight local shop owners as part of Independent Retailer Month. The site provides consumers with photos, business details and reviews as well as information on special events and savings.
Among the retailers participating are Tema Contemporary Furniture (NM), Bartons Toys (SC) and The Chocolaterie (GA). Local business organizations such as Chambers of Commerce are also supporting the effort.
What is the state of business for independent retailers where you live and work?