American Independent Business Alliance

Keys to Effective Buy Local Campaigns

Get the Guide to Campaigns That Work!


“Come in We’re Local” is AMIBA’s registered mark and may be used only with permission. “Come In…” window decals are sold here.

When well-defined, organized and sustained, “buy local” campaigns have proven their ability to consumer spending and local culture. In 2014, independent business in communities with a long-term “buy local and independent campaign” reported revenue growth of 9.3%, nearly double the 4.9% increase for independent businesses not served by such efforts. (See graph below)

AMIBA’s publication, Building Buy Local Campaigns that Shift Culture and Spending, serves as a key resource for many of the most successful campaigns. It clearly shows the distinctions between campaigns that fizzle (a majority) and those that thrive.  We revised the guide with new data in February of 2015 and now provide it FREE upon request in your choice of English or Spanish (pdf).

If you prefer a bound full-color magazine for easy reading and to hand others, we’ll include a copy with any order of pro-local decals, posters or other materials. Thanks to American Express OPEN for underwriting production of this primer.


 Why Invest in a Public Education Campaign?

A “buy independent / buy local” campaign that engages your local businesses and citizens can be a powerful tool to help sustain independent businesses and neighborhood-serving business districts. Buy local campaigns have exploded in recent years, bolstered by compelling data in annual surveys by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The 2015 survey is published here.




Get a print quality pdf or Spanish version of the graph. We also offer a simpler version with solid bars in lieu of bill image. Data source: 2015 ILSR. We suggest providing a link to this page and the report.


Important clarification: Some reports on the success of these initiatives neglect to mention the surveys measure the impact of campaigns sustained by grassroots organizations that distinguish locally-owned independent businesses from franchises and chains. In recent years, hundreds of buy local campaigns only to fade away quickly with little impact. A majority of campaigns by groups not affiliated with AMIBA fail to make a measurable impact and usually disband quickly.

AMIBA’s staff provides comprehensive support and unrivaled experience in designing and implementing effective buy local campaigns, both directly and through assisting dozens of other organizations. City governments, independent trade associations, Main Street programs, rural development agencies and many others tap AMIBA’s expertise to provide presentations, trainings and help design effective programs.

Click to view many ready-to-use outreach materials we offer to help you spread the pro- local message quickly and effectively.

Click to view many ready-to-use outreach
materials we offer to help you spread the pro-
local message quickly and effectively.

AMIBA also provides a range of outreach materials to help spread pro-local messages, including pre-printed posters, decals, pins and more, as well as many free graphics templates you can employ online right away or print in your own community. Most materials can be customized for your city, town, business or organization.

AMIBA will share examples and best practices for everything from choosing a buy local campaign slogan and logo to strategic planning and board development.

Do yourself and your colleagues a favor — don’t waste time and money re-creating what’s been developed and refined by dozens of groups over 15+ years! While every community should develop its own identity and customize its messaging, the basic principles of effective buy local / independent campaigns are universal. Too many groups have lost momentum and volunteers by spending months researching and discussing issues we could guide them through in a single workshop.

Seasonal Pro-Local Campaigns

While education is a year-round process, annual events offer a great opportunity to build awareness at key times. Below are the three most prominent campaigns in the U.S. and Canada. See also our separate library of holiday campaign resources and graphics.

shopsmallIndependentsWeek_WEB     ShiftYourShoppingweb

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative to help local merchants compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving. More than 88 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year, while more than 230 organizations endorsed the initiative.

Shift Your Shopping is a joint effort through the holiday season involving AMIBA and partner organizations. It aims 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. Many holiday-themed graphics and other tools are freely offered.

Independents Week, the first week of July, connects “going local” with the American ideals of independence and the freedom to control one’s own livelihood. It celebrates entrepreneurial spirit, individuality, and recognizes the critical contributions of independent business. This AMIBA-facilitated event offers a wide range of activities and design templates free for anyone to use or adapt.

Other Holidays While other holidays do not have dedicated campaigns, many lend themselves well to specific seasonal messages and images. We’ve created many ads and graphics that we post seasonally and offer freely. We can customize many of them with your name/logo/url at nominal cost (free service for affiliates and premium business members). Follow one of our social media accounts to learn about these as they are released or contact us if you’re seeking to plan far ahead.

AMIBA is a non-profit (501c3) organization. Contact us to help you get started on the right track and tap into the unrivaled experience AMIBA offers.

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