For the fourth year in a row, the Metro Independent Business Alliance (IBA) is offering a month-long promotion this July, calling on residents of the Twin Cities to “Celebrate Your Independents” by shopping locally. Twenty-five Metro IBA members have offered discounts for the month of July. Customers will receive a code from each shop when they patronize it. These codes can be entered online, and at the end of the month two winners each will receive $1250 in gift certificates.
The kickoff event was hosted by Magers and Quinn, one of the participating retailers. The crowd was an array of folks from participating businesses, IBA member businesses, sponsors, and Metro IBA board members. Harvey Zuckman, owner of FirstTech and president of the Metro IBA board, led the event, explaining the benefits of buying local, and the work Metro IBA does throughout the year. Minnesota Commissioner of Revenue Myron Frans delivered a keynote address, further explaining the benefits of buying local and the policy agenda of the state of Minnesota to support local business.
Myron Frans speaking at kickoff event.
Why buy local? According to an article published in Huffington Post by Jeff Milchen (of American IBA) and Michael H. Shuman:
* You’ll create local jobs. And not just any jobs. While chain outlet’s create mostly positions for clerks and cashiers, local businesses are hiring accountants, graphic designers, webmasters and many other positions the chains (or online giants) centralize at corporate headquarters. A multitude of small entrepreneurs provides a more vital and durable financial base than dependence on a few large corporations.
* Local businesses typically require less driving, consume far less land and have a lighter environmental impact. Because they focus primarily on local markets, local businesses place a high premium on being easily accessible by local residents. They tend to bolster community character and vitality, rather than segregating residential areas from clusters of big box development.
* Part of what makes any community great is how well it preserves its unique culture, foods, ecology, architecture, history, music, and art. Local businesses celebrate these features, while chains tend to homogenize, following a corporate template rather than respecting local architecture or customs.
Senator Amy Klobuchar was unable to attend, but sent a letter, which was read by Metro IBA’s Executive Director Mary Hamel.
Reporting for this article supported in part by Bush Foundation.