Strength in Numbers, June-July 2012

Strength in Numbers, June-July 2012

American Express Opens Huge Opportunity for Pro-local Initiatives

American Express OPENAs fifty-plus communities can attest, there’s no better way to instigate a high-impact buy local campaign or push your existing group past a plateau than with a presentation or workshop in your own community. We’re now excited to offer the chance to host a local event at greatly reduced cost, thanks to support from American Express OPEN.

The company is stepping up its support for independent business in a big way by underwriting presentations for up to 25 communities between now and May 2013. See scheduled events and planned visits to your region here, and contact us for details on available dates and costs (first come, first served).

American Express’ partnership also provides for AMIBA to train many additional presenters/facilitators around the continent. This will greatly reduce travel costs for hosts and allow us to deploy trainers with background best matched for specific community circumstances. If you have helped lead a local business coalition for at least one year and would like to explore facilitating workshops, please contact us.

We appreciate American Express enabling the critical work that occurs one community at a time.

News from Local Alliances

summerofindies-austinIndependents Week Action

San Juan Local First (NM) has done a great job of customizing AMIBA Independents Week templates for local outreach, including the poster shown below and the local business scavenger hunt (see more).

The Corvallis IBA is celebrating a packed Indie Week by launching their new t-shirt, hosting Indie Business Night at the Knights baseball game, and a Local Brunch using lots of locally-produced ingredients to cap it off.

Keep Saint Petersburg Local will bestow the title of St. Pete’s Greatest Local Lover for the leading patron of local indies over two weeks. The winner will receive over $3,500 in prizes from member businesses and many other prizes (perhaps some date proposals?).

Lexington Local First’s Indie Week action includes a Think Local, Drink Local event July 3 at a local micro-brewery. Also on-hand: food trucks and t-shirts for sale.

Monadnock Buy Local is issuing the Indie Challenge among its activities for the week.


The Austin IBA, Local First Utah and New Albany First (IN) will attempt to outdo everyone by not settling for a mere Independents Week. They’ve planned the Summer of Independents. Austin will feature an “air conditioned scavenger hunt” to escape the Texas heat.

Twitter users: share your Independent Week news with the hashtag #IndieWeek. To get timely news between monthly newsletters, follow us on Twitter (@theAMIBA).

Other IBA News

Stay Local! (New Orleans) director Dana Eness responded to news of city officials flying across the country to recruit chains with this letter to the editor of the Times-Picayune.

Indie Business News Briefs

Good News on Indie Bookstores…
After years of decline, the American Booksellers Association reports indie bookstore members increased for the third consecutive year (from 1,512 to 1,567). Sales through mid-May (at about 500 ABA stores reporting) increased by 13.4 percent since last year.

Former Borders Employees Open Indie Bookstore in Capitola. Congratulations to all involved!

…But Amazon’s Increasing Dominance Concerns All Retailers
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance produced this compelling infographic illustrating in a glance the concerns over Amazon Inc.’s market share and impacts on the world. Meanwhile, Stacy Mitchell asks why federal regulators go after book publishers for alleged price manipulation on e-books, but ignore Amazon’s near-monopoly on the product.

Local Business is Hot!
In a new survey by the American Planning Association, respondents were asked to rank the top five characteristics of their “ideal community.” The number one choice among 17 listed was “Locally owned businesses nearby.” Wow! More testament to the effectiveness of the work we’re all doing.

The Problem with Too-Clean Food
An interesting op-ed in the NY Times says the factory food system creates health problems by being overly sterile.

New Tools from AMIBA

Resources Free to All

Making the Pro-local Message Visible
We just posted this online gallery featuring many fine examples of t-shirts and tote bags created by indie business advocates.

A request for advice on employee attraction and retention from a business magazine (to be published in Sept.) inspired us to create this chart (Word doc) to track up to 24 factors that influence your employees’ inclination to stay with you, and track progress over time. Tell us what you think!

We recently updated our most popular article, The Benefits of Doing Business Locally, which has has been republished in dozens of newspapers and online outlets. We welcome you to localize it for your community as a co-signed article (no cost–contact us for latest text, graphics and permission).

JUNEcashvillainsResources for AMIBA Affiliates

Please log in to members area prior to clicking links below).

Cash Mob Call Recording
The May conference call and resources on organizing and executing successful cash mob events is now posted in member resources (mp3).

June 28 Call Topic: Reaching Community Newcomers
A recent study (summary) supports what we’ve long observed: people who develop roots in a community are more likely to patronize local independents, while frequent movers tend toward chains. So how do you reach newcomers before habits form?

We don’t have all the answers on this one, but we’ll discuss ideas and facilitate additional brainstorming. This topic was inspired by interest in a recent discussion in the LinkedIn group for indie business advocates.

Cultivating Active Members — ideas for creating an organizational culture that entices your members to engage in the activity of your organization as a volunteer and participant.

Welcome Anna Hernandez!

Next time you call AMIBA, that new voice you may hear answering is Anna Hernandez, our Operations Manager. Anna also teaches and coordinates the Professional Coaching Clinic at the Montana State University College of Business. In addition to Anna’s business background in media and human resources, she puts her interest in upcycling in motion through founding and coordinating the Human Empowered Arts Project in Bozeman and her own art.

View previous monthly bulletins or subscribe (free) via form in right-hand column. We will take a break from publishing in July. Look for your next issue August 2.


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