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Strength in Numbers, May 2015

Indie Business News Highlights

How Washington Punishes Small Business [1]

Contentfootnote text Politicians love to talk about small business, but federal and state policies routinely favor huge corporations that invest in campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists to push their agenda. This Wall St. Journal op-ed was a breakthrough for Advocates for Independent Business [2], a nationwide coalition of independent trade associations and allies (AMIBA is a co-founder). AIB has grown to 15 organizations representing more than 150,000 independent businesses, giving them a way to share ideas, develop new strategies, and have a stronger voice on critical public policy issues.

If you’re part of an independent trade group that’s not yet a member, we’d love to talk with you about engaging the leaders!

Click to view  many ready-to-use outreach materials we offer to help you spread the pro- local message quickly and effectively. [3]

New Tools to Help Your Business Group Partner with Community Banks, Credit Unions [4]
Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) are key partners for successful local business coalitions, and we’re eager to help groups establish partnerships and sponsorships. Our newest resource page includes a new “plug and play” tool to help make this easier and examples from some successful initiatives among AMIBA affiliates.

On a related note, this recent article [5] from Yes! Magazine and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is a recommended read for anyone concerned about the continued growth of “too big to fail” banks at the expense of community financial institutions.

How Cooperative Grocers are Bringing Food Access to Low-Income Neighborhoods [6]
Most folks view food co-ops as a means to bring more organic, local or ethically-sourced products to relatively prosperous communities. But this report makes clear co-ops also can play a key role in bringing more food options to under-served communities.

SF Biz Connect [7] is a new San Francisco initiative that challenges larger businesses with local operations to pledge to shift at least five percent of their spending to local businesses.

Crowdfunded Commercial Real Estate Project Pays Off in DC [8]

Kentucky Grows Local
AMIBA Board Member and speaker [9] Lily Brislen recently became the inaugural director of a new initiative at the University of Kentucky, The Food Connection [10]. The program will enhance production, distribution and consumption of Kentucky grown and produced food, both on and off campus.

Lily’s specialty, “Integrating Local Food Systems,” is among the several presentation and workshop topics [11] offered by AMIBA.

AMIBA is Hiring! (and Seeking Summer Interns)
We’re seeking a Development and Engagement Coordinator and have opportunities for various internships starting in mid-June. See listings [12].

Megamergers and global cartels continue, but the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division is keeping us safe [13] from over-paying for posters. (In honor of the DOJ, we’re giving away 2 free bumper stickers with every “Why Go Local?” poster [14] order the rest of May!

The Small Business Administration Goes Bilingual [15]

Note that AMIBA’s free guide to effective buy local campaigns was recently updated with 2015 data and now offered in both Spanish and English. Get it here [16]!

Graph shows membership in the American Bookseller's Association, which inlcludes the vast majority of general interest bookstores carrying new books. Read more: http://www.amiba.net/buy_local_materials/trade_specific#ixzz3YARt9MzD [17]

The Good News Page!

AMIBA published this collection [18] of graphs showing the superior value of independent businesses and positive trends in various sectors. Help expand this to include your business! We seek your help in locating solid data to cover your business sector and will create a custom co-branded graphic with your logo/url if you wish.

The bookstore graph shown was revised with 2015 data [19] released yesterday, demonstrating indies’ continued resurgence.

New Multiplier Study Focuses on Home Improvement
The latest multiplier effect study finds locally owned home improvement centers create double the local economic impact of chains. See the study (pdf) [20] or learn more about the multiplier effect [21]. Independent We Stand, one of the study sponsors, also offers a new online calculator [22] to gauge the impact of your home improvement spending.

Localized Investing has a New Tool
Amy Cortese, author of Locavesting, launched her new website [23] in April. It’s a great new resource on local investing news and options.

News from Affiliates

SLR-Brewgaloo-freaker [24]Shop Local Raleigh’s annual Brewgaloo, a celebration of North Carolina’s craft beers, has grown in popularity since its start 4 years ago. Steady rain did not deter 18,000 local beer lovers from attending this year’s event that included 74 breweries, 45 food trucks, local crafts and more.

Stay Local! is among the organizations and businesses issuing New Orleans residents the Eat Local Challenge [25]. The challenge: eat only foods grown, caught, or raised within a 200-mile radius of NOLA for the month of June. Special events during the month include classes such as pickling and butchering, culinary tours, and an Indigenous Foods Dinner.

When Metro IBA (Twin Cities, MN) learned of plans for the suburb of Shakopee to directly subsidize a new Amazon distribution center, they rallied to raise awareness and tell local officials this would be an unnecessary giveaway of taxpayer money. Their efforts helped stop the direct subsidy, though Amazon still will benefit from massive public spending on roads and related infrastructure to serve their operation — for jobs with low pay and no job security.

We encourage anyone (whether or not you’re part of an AMIBA affiliate) to contact us for help if your community is considering subsidies to an absentee-owned company.

Local First Milwaukee received a matching grant of $10,000 from the Kailo Fund to support their public education work in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, and Racine counties.

Local First Utah invited elected officials in communities around the state to sign their proclamation declaring July 1-7 Independents Week. And the officials are starting to line up! Equally, citizens can pledge [26] their support and play Local Tic-Tac-Toe.

Indie-week-twitter [27]What Are YOUR Independents Week Plans?

Let us know, and we may include you in our next issue of SIN!

See information on the 12th annual Indie Week campaign [28], a celebration of independent businesses and community — including ready-made graphics, a large library of event ideas, templates and instruction, and more.

If you choose to expand the event into Independents Month or Summer of Independents, as groups including the Austin IBA, Go Local Sonoma County Cooperative and Wyandotte IBA have done, we’re happy to adapt graphics for you.

Welcome to the Newest AMIBA Affiliate!

Columbia County Buy Local [29], Oregon

Member Resources Additions

While we regularly create free public resources like the banking flier and “good news” page highlighted above, AMIBA affiliates have access to hundreds of templates, how-to articles, customizable graphics and more. Learn more [30] about affiliation. Affiliates can log in first [31], then click the links below.

Sample Member Recruitment Page [32]
Gaining business members is key to the success of most local business organizations, yet we frequently see websites and brochures with ineffective membership pitches. We created this template to help you strengthen your materials or, for new groups, save much of the work of creating them! AMIBA affiliates always are welcome to send any draft materials for free guidance on both copywriting and design.

Outstanding Examples of Website Functions from Independent Business Alliances [33]
A website is an important face of your organization — be sure yours is awesome. We’ve gleaned some of the best examples of important website elements from our affiliates’ sites and created a one-stop resource to help!

Not Just for Start-ups!

Bring an AMIBA Speaker to Your Community This Fall
While invaluable to new groups, a single-day workshop with an AMIBA facilitator often helps established organizations transcend long-standing obstacles and rapidly accelerate their progress. We’re now scheduling presentations and community trainings for fall of 2015 and beyond.

These events have played a key role in instigating or building the power of many successful pro-local campaigns and organizations in 100+ communities [34]. AMIBA also provides distinctive keynotes and workshops for trade shows and conferences — suggest it to the organizers of your association.

Facebook Twitter  Blog [35]

We thank American Express OPEN [36] for their partnership in enabling dozens of communities that may not have had the capacity to host these trainings otherwise to enjoy their benefit during the past three years.

You can review presentation and workshop topics here [11] or see a detailed outline [37] of our most popular offering. Contact us [38] for available dates and details.