Carol L Schroeder

Celebrating Independents

July 1, 2014

Independent Retailer MonthIn a splendid example of letting bygones be bygones, July has been declared to be Independent Retailer Month in England. After all, July 4th may be celebrated here as our Independence Day from the British -- but 1776 was a long time ago, and today retailers on both sides of the pond face similar challenges.

As the British Independent Retailer Month web site points out, “Independent retailers and consumer-facing businesses are important. They are the lifeblood of our local retail centres - towns, high streets [that would be main streets to us Yanks], villages. They add social and commercial value to the places we work, live and enjoy.

The value our independent traders add to our communities and our local economies has been proven. Stats show that for every £1 spent with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into that local economy. Buying locally supports local traders, their suppliers and the people they depend on to run their businesses. Buying locally boosts the local economy, rebuilding confidence in the community, enabling local businesses to prosper and grow.

Shopping online or out-of-town may save a little time or a little money, but for every £1 spent only 5p trickles back into the local economy.”

Those of us involved in Buy Local campaigns in the US have seen similar statistics — and if you aren’t involved yet, now is the time to get started. The British web site generously shares templates and activity suggestions, as does its American Independent Retailer Month counterpart.  And I have created this graphic that you are welcome to use. (Please e-mail me if you need a higher res version.)

Shop Local

There are all kinds of good reasons to promote shopping locally year round and during July. But one of the major ones is that these campaigns allow you to say “shop here!” without appearing to be self-serving. In fact you are providing consumers with another reason, beyond your wonderful product selection and customer service, to feel good about patronizing your shop. And that can’t help but increase your business.