August 2011 Newsletter--Strength in Numbers
Local Alliance Action
Austin IBA Helps Lead Solar Power Push
Austin residents have their first dedicated public spot to sit and charge cellphones, laptops, electric bikes, etc. with solar energy -- Keep Austin Weird style. The Austin IBA, Sol Design Lab and local partners sponsored the program, which features a 1950s-vintage gas pump retrofitted with solar panels and sporting the Austin IBA's educational messaging.
AIBA also unveiled their newest IBIZ (Independent Business Investment Zone) District: Lo-Burn IBIZ District, which includes 63 locally owned businesses. For larger cities, we recommend this approach of city-wide branding and education, supplemented by micro-branding and promotion of the neighborhoods with which residents most closely identify.
Welcoming Newcomers to Your Pro-Local Culture
For the past three years, the Belknap IBA (NH), has partnered with the Laconia Main Street program and local Chamber of Commerce to present new teachers in area schools with a welcome packet, introduction to local groups, plus gifts and offers from BIBA member businesses. BIBA co-founder Sue Bullerwell says, "It's been a lovely collaboration. Last year, teachers received everything from a freshly baked cookie to locally-roasted coffee with matching mugs, sterling silver earrings, coupons, a complimentary BIBA card (their IBA loyalty program) and more." The Superintendent's office distributes the gifts on their orientation day.
The "welcome packet" approach has been used in other IBA communities, but we like the special effort demonstrated by BIBA to reach those whose actions and words will influence many other people -- perhaps for years to come.
Fresno Campaign Supports Local Restaurants
The Fresno IBA is in the midst of its first Restaurant Week (really two weeks), promoting two dozen local independent eateries through special events and fixed-price special offerings for every budget. FRIBA attracted sponsorships to organize and publicize the event not only from restaurants, but also food suppliers and distributors. Here's an example of the television coverage the event generated, which will benefit all independent businesses.
The Good News Department
Penn State Study: local business ownership is a key to local prosperity. The Daily Yonder and New Rules Project published summaries of an important new study that adds to the existing body of evidence for the huge importance of local small business ownership. The full report is available here.
Indie Bookstores on the Rise!
The Washington Post reported the net increase in independent bookstores, even as Borders undergoes liquidation. Bookstore owners clearly are astute businesspeople--they've instigated more Independent Business Alliances than any other business type and support a strong network (pdf directory) of regional independent trade groups across the U.S.!
Dense Development Yields More Tax Revenue
A recent study in Glenwood Springs, CO demonstrates how focusing on dense development in community centers saves money and helps keep taxes lower compared to big box and other low-density development elsewhere. The study's researcher, Joe Minicozzi, offers great presentations on the topic.
Welcome to New AMIBA Affiliates
Monadnock Buy Local based in Keene, NH works to support local entrepreneurs in Keene and 33 other towns in southwestern New Hampshire.
Imperial Valley Independent Business Alliance (Southern CA). IVIBA will own several superlatives, including being the lowest (almost entirely below sea level), the hottest and the first IBA serving a majority-Latino (73% of population) county.
New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association is a regional trade group supporting independent bookstores and book industry participants in NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, WV, Northern VA, and Washington D.C. Welcome all to the team!
Organizational affiliations are designed for independent trade
groups, co-ops and other groups who want to help make it easy for their
members to launch IBAs, "Buy Indie / Buy Local" campaigns, or host a
presentation to spark community interest. These arrangements underwrite
the cost of those actions, as well as provide some free tools and
support for members of the affiliating group. Contact AMIBA to learn
more about how these partnerships work and ideas for engaging your trade
How Many Words are Thousands of Pictures Worth?
Videos are an ideal way to personalize your business or organization and engage community members through stories. Our newest web page
includes sample videos from local business advocates and individual
businesses as well as many "how-to" resources. This page is accessible
to all, not just AMIBA affiliates. Thanks to everyone who sent
suggestions in response to our request!
AMIBA Member Resources Updates
These web pages are accessible only to affiliates (if you are a board member or volunteer with an affiliate, contact your leader for login). Please log in before clicking!
Diversifying Your Group's Funding Base
AMIBA's August conference call now is posted in mp3 format, along with supporting resources from the presenter. Thanks to Beverly Post, the Membership and Development Director of the Santa Fe Alliance.
Use Your Newspaper's Editorial Page for Outreach!
This is one of the most powerful and under-utlized ways for your local alliance to shift local culture and engage citizens in your efforts, as well as facilitate member recruitment. To help encourage you, we've updated our library of media tools, and we always are eager to help affiliates with honing ideas, editing and marketing your writing. Our primers on op-ed writing and effective letters to the editor are two of the many tools to explore.
For a current example, Carla Jimenez, VP of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance, just had this op-ed on sales tax fairness published by the Tampa Tribune.
Localization Leaders Unite for Holiday Season Campaigns
You may not be humming "White Christmas" as you wilt in the summer heat, but it's not too early to start discussing public education and marketing for the holidays. We're excited to announce AMIBA has teamed up with leaders of BALLE, the New Rules Project, New England Local Business Forum and some local Alliance leaders to collaborate on spreading pro-local messaging across the U.S. and Canada and creating a portal website to highlight and connect the many campaigns. Please contact us if you would like to participate in the group as we explore new holiday slogans, images and campaign ideas!
We'll post updates via our social media networks (see icons in right column to access them) and September newsletter, but meanwhile, you can explore some of the free public resources AMIBA provides for the annual "America Unchained" / "Canada Unchained" campaign. AMIBA affiliates also can access an additional library of holiday outreach examples and templates here (you must log in here first).
Recent Books on Localization and Independent Business
Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies by Gwendolyn Hallsmith and Bernard Lietaer highlights local currency models, time banks, barter and other economic exchange models.
Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing by Amy Cortese explores how we can invest money to strengthen communities and build wealth for our communities, rather than Wall St.
Fall Presentations and Trainings with AMIBA
We've recently scheduled September and October events in Siskiyou County, CA; Wyoming County, WV; New Albany, IN; and Charlotte, NC. Additional fall dates are available in the Midwest, North and Central Appalachia, the Pacific states and Northeast. Learn more about our offerings here or contact us with scheduling inquiries.
Special thanks to volunteer Brian Boerst, who came to us when we posted a request for assistance via Sparked.com on a website problem that had stymied our staff. If you previously had trouble viewing the image display on our home page, it now should be solved!
Go Local, Grow Local -- Seeking Volunteers to Set the Agenda for AMIBA's 2012 Conference
Do you have ideas on how to make the 3rd AMIBA conference the best yet? We're now seeking volunteers to help set the agenda, guest presenters and more for March 29 - April 1 in Louisville, KY. Please get in touch if you'd like to help out!
See our index of previous newsletter issues.