Friday, November 7, 2008

Indie Businesses Unite!

I have been posting on the SPI Forum about the advantages of independent businesses for the community. Actually, I think most everyone is tired of hearing about Indiebound, the Indiebound Community, or anything else that begins with "Indie".

In an effort to help the business climate of South Padre Island, the Town has initiated the formation of a "Coalition for Business Development". The coalition is being asked to identify ways (1) to increase consumer use of our existing businesses (2) to attract new businesses which will be used by consumers and (3) to attract more consumers by increasing the number of permanent residents and visitors. To meet these objectives several subcommittees have been formed, with each one being asked to provide recommendations that will help to meet the broader objectives of the coalition.

The subcommittees include:

(1) Establish a Merchants Association to focus on ways to improve sales for existing business.

(2) Establish New Programs will focus on new Special Events.

(3) Recruit Permanent and Part-Time Residents and Increase Tourism will focus on Specialty Groups to which our Island offers areas of interest.

(4) Recruit New Business will focus on developing an On-Line Website for the EDC that can be used by new business seeking information about the Island. In addition recommend better use of technology for data based marketing, and identify a liaison between new business and the Town.

My interest in these discussions is directed toward the Merchant's Association with a focus on some type of a Shop Local campaign, with an emphasis on our Independent Businesses.

The IndieBound program offers some great materials which can be used to promote, not just bookstores, but all indies within a community. This message, which appears on a flyer that can be customized for individual stores or for a merchants association, reminds the customer that when they shop local they have done something good for the community.

Here’s what you just did!

1. You kept dollars in our economy

For every $100 you spend at one of our local businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.

2. You embraced what makes us unique

You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?

3. You created local jobs

Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for our neighbors.

4. You helped the environment

Buying from a local business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation, less packaging, and products that you know are safe and well made, because we stand behind them.

5. You nurtured community

We know you, and you know us. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

6. You conserved your tax dollars

Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify our community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong—right here in your community!

7. You created more choice

We pick the books and gifts we sell based on what we know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because we buy for our own individual market.

8. You took advantage of our expertise

You are our friends and neighbors, and we have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. We’re passionate about what we do. Why not take advantage of it?

9. You invested in entrepreneurship

Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.

10.You made us a destination

The more interesting and unique we are as a community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

So, remember the advantages to our communities when we Shop Local!

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