(Click on audio mp3 above to hear a recent interview with AMIBA co-founder Jeff Milchen, on this topic.)
The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) have launched the second annual Shift Your Shopping holiday campaign. Shift Your Shopping encourages citizens and businesses to make a “shift” by buying from local independent businesses for the holiday season. More than 140 local business alliances across the U.S. and Canada, collectively representing more than 38,000 locally owned and independent businesses, are participating in the campaign.
ShiftYourShopping.org provides access to resources from multiple campaigns, including templates that allow anyone to spread the message easily in their community. All are welcome to use these tools to participate and make a direct impact where they live.
Shift Your Shopping is building a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands local employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding holiday shopping experience. The campaign offers a simple, powerful way to boost our economy and preserve and create jobs in our local communities.
Numerous studies quantifying the economic benefits of buying from local independent business have found impressive benefits. Just this month, Civic Economics released several new studies in individual cities, all of which showed locally-owned independent retailers returned three times or more money into their communities than chain competitors.
In addition, annual surveys over the last five 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 1768 independent business. That data revealed independent businesses in communities executing long-term “buy local and independent” campaigns run by grassroots groups averaged a strong 7.2 percent revenue increase over the previous year despite slow economic growth. This gain nearly tripled the 2.6 percent increase reported by independent businesses in areas lacking such campaigns.
Those “buy local” campaigns operated with support from the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and/or American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), co-sponsors of Shift Your Shopping.
Shift Your Shopping combines the efforts of BALLE and AMIBA with combined membership of more than 41,000 independent businesses. Grassroots groups Monadnock Buy Local, Local First Chicago, and the Louisville Independent Business Alliance will execute campaigns with their own flair, using Shift Your Shopping logos and templates as well as incorporating campaigns like Plaid Friday (a pro-local antidote to Black Friday) and using growing awareness of Small Business Saturday to further the shift.
“This is the third year our region will participate in Shift Your Shopping and the buzz gets louder and louder,” said Jen Risley, Program Manager of Monadnock Buy Local based in Keene, NH. “We are reaching more citizens and empowering us all to rethink our shopping habits and make our spending work for our local economy.”
“We can create jobs and build our economy, locally and nationally, by investing in our communities through small businesses, healthy farms, and community banks,” said Michelle Long, executive director of BALLE. “When you spend money locally during the holidays, you are investing in the economic well-being of your community, your neighbors, and your family.”
AMIBA co-founder Jeff Milchen said, “More than ever, people recognize economic recovery will be built from the grassroots up and we all have a role to play with each purchase we make. By going local, we’re helping our communities as well as treating ourselves and the people we give gifts to a more personal and high-quality experience.”
Shift Your Shopping kicks off November 3 and extends through the holiday season to December 31. See ShiftYourShopping.org for stories of pro-local campaigns, templates for easy customization, a list of participating organizations, and to add your organization.