We’re building a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding shopping experience.

As customers, we collectively spend a large portion of our annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. Thank you for joining us in shifting those dollars to locally owned, independent businesses. By “going local” about 3 times more of your purchase will stay in your local economy compared to buying from a chain outlet.

The Shift Your Shopping campaign engages more than 160 local business organizations across the U.S. and Canada encouraging residents to take job creation and economic concerns into their own hands by strengthening their own local economies. This grassroots campaign provides a platform to highlight work done in communities across North America and provide open-source tools and resources to communities, organizations and small businesses.

Choosing local and independent is an effective strategy all year-round, but especially important at the holidays: The National Retail Federation estimates more than $616 billion will be spent on holiday shopping in 2014. This makes the holiday season a “make or break” time for many of your hometown retailers. Consider the overall value your independent retailers provide you, as well as the important civic and economic benefits they offer your community when making your shopping choices.

Annual surveys over the last five years by the Institute for Local Self Reliance show that places that “go local” do better. In the 2013 survey, independent businesses in communities with sustained “buy independent/buy local” campaign run by a local business/citizen alliance saw revenues grow 7.0% in 2012, compared to 2.3% for those in areas without an alliance. That’s triple the revenue growth.

See the latest report from ILSR. A colorful graph showing results from the three most recent surveys (a great tool for persuading others of the value of instigating a campaign) is posted here.

*Nearly all campaigns measured by these surveys were operated by grassroots organizations dedicated to supporting local independents and are affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance and/or Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. Impacts of other buy local campaigns are likely to be much less (contact us for details).

ShiftYourShopping combines the efforts of the groups noted below with more than 160 local coalitions comprised of more than 38,000 local businesses. These grassroots, community-based groups use the tools and templates provided here to execute campaigns to suit their own style and community. Anyone is welcome to use these resources to help shift spending where you live.

How Local Alliances Help Small Businesses Thrive Year Round
For more than a decade, such businesses have been uniting through grassroots programs in towns and cities all across the country. They work together to help all locally owned, independent businesses in a community to thrive through direct assistance, public education and more.

A single merchant has limited ability to shift attitudes or consumer spending, but by building strength in numbers, we can create broad support for independent business locally and advocate for their interests.

Shift Your Shopping Partners

Here are some resources to help you start or improve “buy local” campaigns and broader pro- local business activity in your community, as well as research relevant issues.

The American Independent Business Alliance is a non- profit organization providing a wide array of tools, templates and support for independent business owners and advocates. AMIBA helps businesses and organizations implement buy local campaigns; organize group purchasing, marketing and other collaborative work; and advance policies that support community-rooted businesses rather than absentee-owned corporations.

 

Independent We Stand is a nationwide campaign inspiring small businesses to celebrate their local roots and helping consumers understand why it’s important to support them.

Shop for Good is connecting local businesses and charities across the country this holiday season, so every gift you buy gives twice! This grassroots give-back campaign grew out of the nationwide “Shift Your Shopping” movement, with a hilarious Kevin Bacon video.

Small Business Survival is a community space for small town business people, plus articles and presentations on rural issues. SBS provides articles on entrepreneurship, marketing, economic development and tourism.