National Independent Retailers Week, scheduled this year for July 17-23, celebrates the uniqueness that a locally owned business brings to a community. Independent retailers know that money spent in a locally owned business stays in the community much longer, because the local business owner purchases more supplies, equipment, and inventory from other area businesses. As compared to a mass merchant, shoppers are apt to find that the manager, assistant manager, and staff of a locally owned business are all longtime residents of a community; that’s compared to individuals who corporate has sent into a community. With a locally owned business, customers often experience shopping with a multi generation business, one that the older generation started years ago in which they are still a part, but now a second, and even a third generation, is also part of the entity. Customers find products and services that have been selected by local ownership, as compared to those that have been selected by a corporate office that may be thousands of miles away.
According to the Northwest Earth Institute’s Choices for Sustainable Living, “A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent six to 15 times before it leaves the community. From $1, a shopper creates $5 to $14 in value within that community.” The organization also states that when one spends $1 at a national chain store, 80 percent of the money leaves town immediately. According to AMIBA, the American Independent Business Alliance, the 2010 survey found that holiday sales for independent retailers were up an average of 2.2 percent. That contrasts with U.S. Department of Commerce figures, which show that overall retail sales were down 0.3 percent in December and up 1.8 percent in November. The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active, “Buy Independent / Buy Local,” or, “Local First,” campaigns reported stronger holiday sales, over those in cities without such campaigns. National Independent Retailers Week is held each year during the week that contains July 21. More information is available at nationalindependentretailersweek.com.