Strength in Numbers, March 2013

Strength in Numbers, March 2013

News from Independent Business Alliances & AMIBA

st-pete-tablingKeep Saint Petersburg Local & Community Bank Team Up to Move Money and Memberships!
Keep Saint Petersburg Local arranged a great partnership with a local community bank to build membership and local interdependence. C1 Bank rewarded every business that moved their money to C1 during February with a full year membership in KSPL — and paid their dues for an extra year if the business already was a member!

KSPL reports “the promotion led a City Council member to propose the City move a percentage of its funds to locally-owned banks as a direct result of the awareness we’ve created with C1 Bank’s ‘Keep it Local’ campaign!” The proposal passed through committee unanimously.

Credit Union CD Yields Local Benefits
Asheville Grown has teamed up with Self-Help/Carolina Mountains Credit Union to develop another innovative program to enhance local investment. March 22nd marks the launch of a new Go Local CD, from which the capital will exclusively fund local loans and investments, including local independent businesses, home mortgages (that are guaranteed to remain at the Credit Union) and local economic development projects. Even better, the first 50 people to open a Go Local CD will receive a free Go Local Card, Asheville Grown’s loyalty program that supports Asheville public schools and non-profits.

Independent Business Alliance Cities Dominate Rankings
Wow! 5 of the top 6 cities ranked as “best for small business” by The Business Journals are home to AMIBA affiliates. Congratulations to the Austin Independent Business Alliance, Shop Local Raleigh, Local First Utah, Mile High Business Alliance, and Sustain-a-Bull: Shop Independent Durham.

Metro IBA Builds Strong Voice for Indies in Twin Cities and Beyond
Metro IBA’s latest newsletter offers a personal account of the importance of casual meetings with elected representatives as they work to ensure the concerns of small businesses that lack paid lobbyists are heard in Minnesota. Metro IBA’s influence is growing in the media as well, as evidenced by the state’s largest newspaper citing Metro IBA as a lead advocate for the Marketplace Fairness Act in Minnesota (more on the Act under Indie News Briefs).

WhyBuyLocal-Back-CCNMem-RotateNew Resources for Indie Business Advocates and Owners

“Why Buy Local?” Web Ads Get a Facelift!
After two people politely mentioned loving the messages on our rotating web ads, but suggested a bolder appearance, we got the hint. Our newly redesigned “Why Buy Local?” web inserts offer an effective, free way to educate your current and potential customers about the benefits of doing business locally (different answers to the question rotate through after the first panel). Just drop them into your website, newsletters or your email signature!

See these new designs (in two sizes) & other free educational materials.

AMIBA Increases Our Capacity to Serve You

JoeGWe’re thrilled to introduce you to AMIBA’s new staff members. Joe Grafton has been a major player in many key pro-indie business initiatives, including Somerville Local First, SBN Massachusetts, Shift Your Shopping and the New England Local Business Forum. He brings a wealth of organizing experience and business skills to help local alliances thrive as our Director of Development and Community Engagement. He welcomes your requests and ideas: [email protected]

HaleyMillerHaley Miller is our new office manager at AMIBA’s Montana headquarters, where she will build on her work as an advocate for local farmers and food producers to support independent business and vital communities. Also, previous star intern Alex Kelsey just re-joined AMIBA as a part-time program assistant. Their addition will greatly increase our capacity to help member organizations and businesses with organizing, fundraising and more.

See the whole AMIBA team here. If you’ve ever thought, “I wish AMIBA could add this new program, tool, etc. to help us,” now is the time to share your idea!

poster_finalized_DesignIndependents Week July 1-7
Our annual celebration of independent business and entrepreneurism grows each year and we’re seeking your input for new programs, templates and ideas to make 2013 bigger and better than ever. Start the ideas flowing for your community and how AMIBA can help you!

Show the Love for Your “Mom & Pops”
After the great response to our Valentine’s Day “buy local” ads, we’re working on Mother’s Day themes. Have an idea? Send it our way! We’ll provide a version customized with your name and logo if you’re the first to suggest a theme we use.

Indie Business News Briefs


AMIBA board member Steve Bercu testifies in favor of sales tax fairness before Congress

Campaign for Sales Tax Fairness Gains Momentum in Congress
On February 14, 53 members of Congress (35 representatives and 18 senators) introduced the ‘Marketplace Fairness Act’ (S. 336/H.R. 684). This bipartisan effort would allow states to close the sales tax loophole for interstate sales, which unfairly handicaps storefront businesses.

We urge you to make your opinion known on this issue. See the Marketplace Fairness Coalition for much more background. The American Sustainable Business Council has a tool to quickly send a form letter to your congressional delegation. Even better, write a short note of your own. AMIBA created this guide to assist you, and we’ll gladly offer personal help at your request! AMIBA Co-director Jeff Milchen’s latest commentary may be useful for those writing their own letters.

Also, we invite all businesses, local business associations and trade groups to endorse this sign-on letter. Just email us with your full contact information, and we’ll see that you’re added shortly.

Watch Out, Louisiana Retailers!
This week Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) proposed increasing the state’s sales tax by 47 percent (4% to 5.88%) while eliminating state income tax. This would drive total sales tax over 10 percent in most localities — a great idea if the goal is to divert sales from Louisiana businesses to online megastores.

School Board Passes Local Purchasing Guidelines
While a town or city-wide local purchasing preference should be a first option, Plattsmouth, Nebraska shows you can shift spending within specific government entities as well.

Common Sense Now Backed by Data
Mixed Use Neighborhoods Enhance Safety (Atlantic Cities)

How Cooperatives are Driving the New Economy
YES! magazine just published a full issue focused on cooperatives, led by this feature by Marjorie Kelly.

Welcome to the Newest AMIBA Afflilates!

RadcliffeIndependent Business Alliances
Radcliff Small Business Alliance, Radcliff, KY
Think Local First Washtenaw County Ann Arbor, MI

Organizational Affiliates
St. John the Baptist Parish Economic Development, LaPlace, LA (in LA, parishes are similar to county government)

Business Member
Howlett Group LLC (home for,, and

Learn more about how your organization or your business will benefit from affiliating with AMIBA.

Come Meet AMIBA Speakers at Upcoming Presentations (or Host Your Own)

AMIBA co-founder Jeff Milchen, Lily Brislen and Joe Grafton will be speaking at events in IL, MI, OH, NY and TN in the coming weeks. Several April-May dates in the Southeastern/Atlantic U.S. will be added next week (contact us today if you’re in the region and interested in learning more). See confirmed events.

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