The story of 31 year old entrepreneur, Alison Grappone, and her plan to promote local, independent businesses and nonprofits to newlyweds, is a tale of a concerned customer and citizen promoting the restoration and growth of Main Street USA. Store owners are also taking the challenge of increasing the awareness of independent retail and its effect on the community. According to the Northwest Earth Institute’s Choices for Sustainable Living, “A dollar spent at a locally owned store is usually spent 6 to 15 times before it leaves the community.” And, although keeping money in the community is reason enough to support independent retailers, indie store owner, Lesley Tweedie, says, “these stores have so much charm, individuality and passion. I enjoy supporting them.” Tweedie’s support plan is to offer a one stop ecommerce shop for her and independent retailers like her.
Giving Independent Retailers More Exposure
Tweedie explains the inspiration behind her online marketplace was a, “bike helmet gathering dust on the sale rack.” Many store owners are cursed with such items that linger too long. Tweedie’s online marketplace, www.LittleIndependent.com, provides owners and their sale items with a wider audience, increasing the chance of sale. In fact, LittleIndependent.com seeks to solve two issues concurrently: 1) for independent store owners, it helps increase visibility for sale merchandise, and 2) it provides consumers with easy, convenient access to deals at the locally owned independent stores they value and like to patronize. For those independent retailers interested in joining the ecommerce site, any sale merchandise in your store that is marked down at least 10 percent below its original price is eligible for sale on LittleIndependent.com.
Beginning June1, the website opened for business, inviting independently owned brick-and-mortar stores to join its online marketplace. Those retailers that are eligible include the following:
1) Operate out of a brick-and-mortar storefront with a street address and a telephone number. It is not based in a home, office, warehouse or vehicle.
2) Make sales locally in store rather than online.
3) Privately owned, neither a franchise nor part of a national chain.
4) Sell retail. Do not sell wholesale.