Independents Week Begins Thursday! Here's a sampling of how some communities are using Independents Week to highlight the importance of their local i

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Independents Week Begins Thursday!

Here's a sampling of how some communities are using Independents Week to highlight the importance of their local independent businesses. Fresno, CA; Cleveland Heights, OH; and El Paso, TX are among many communities generating municipal endorsements for Independents Week via public proclamations (look here for templates for these and more ideas). Hollister (CA) Downtown Association is offering a scavenger hunt to draw locals into independent businesses they may not know. Scranton, PA created an Independents Week Facebook page to attract people to some of its many activities and help others spread word. Utah Local First has generated publicity for their cause and members in many regional media outlets with their ambitious schedule of events.

One week isn't enough for the Metro IBA (Twin Cities, MN). They're running an Independents Month contest to entice members to patronize a multitude of member businesses.

Tell us about your plans! You just might be able to point to regional or national publicity as a result. Click here for a menu of the free Independents Week tools or see the latest national press release.

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News and Tools

Making Materials Error Free
One way to help keep your members happy is to ensure their listing -- especially in print directories -- is accurate. Think Local Umpqua (our Douglas County, OR affiliate) held their second annual “Strunk & White Memorial Proofreading Party” to engage members and citizens and help catch mistakes before publishing their new directory. The Umpqua group baited proofreaders by offering a history of the renowned grammarians and rewarded volunteers with refreshments and a fun social atmosphere. Prior to directory cut-off date, all local, independent businesses were invited to join a social featuring local wine and appetizers and enter a contest to win a free membership.

Faux Local Alert
As local shops disappear in many New York City neighborhoods, the global chain Urban Outfitters decided to create a facade for its new store on the Upper West Side that emulates local shops: a bodega (small grocery store), bar, hat shop and hardware store. The designer calls the facade an “ironic statement.”

The Alliance Grows
Welcome to the newest AMIBA affiliate, Heights Independent Business Alliance (Cleveland Heights and University Heights, Ohio), starting with assistance from Future Heights.

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Agenda for a New Economy, New Edition
Berrett-Koehler just published a substantially revised edition of Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth by AMIBA advisory board member David Korten. The first edition was highlighted as one of our editors' picks for 2009.

Special Offer for July: Customized Templates with "Buy Local in Box"
We're offering an incentive for you to take action during our slowest month. Any business or organization ordering our "Buy Local in a Box" package now through the end of July is entitled to a customized template (with your name and logo inserted) for bag-stuffers or billing statement-stuffers (samples here) with the normal charge waived. See our merchandise page for details on "The Box" and other ready-to-use education materials.

Backlash Against Giant Banks Helps Credit Unions Thrive
The New Rules Project reports some good news in the aftermath of the megabank bailout: credit union deposits grew by 10 percent in 2009 and continue to surge in 2010. Hopefully this signifies a departure from a destructive trend over the past 15 years of the largest banking corporations sharply increasing market share -- mostly at the expense of small and medium-sized traditional banks (despite the fact that fees and penalties are much lower at smaller community banks).

Opportunities to Meet Your Peers or Host a Local Presentation

AMIBA and ShoLo (South Bend, IN) will convene the fourth regional gathering of 2010 on August 19 in South Bend. Members of pro-local business organizations or individual advocates are invited to meet your peers from IN, MI, IL and WI, share ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration. These events have united leaders of local business groups, public officials and people developing new organizations or Buy Local campaigns. Here's a sample overview and agenda from the first such event.

AMIBA co-founder Jeff Milchen will be touring the Great Lakes region and Northeast in August, and the schedule is filling fast. Contact us if you'd like to explore the possibility of hosting a community presentation or training for your group, or to help spark interest in a new local organization. We soon will be scheduling fall events in the mid-Atlantic states, Southeastern US and Southwest Canada/Northwest US.

Survey: Tell Us What You Want!

Since our "Put Your Money Where Your House Is" buttons have proved popular, we're seeking your guidance to evaluate the messaging and designs for potential new (1.25" diam.) buttons and other items. AMIBA may soon supplement these with t-shirts, tote bags and other items for provoking conversation and spreading the pro-indie vibe and you will help determine what they are. Please take a minute (literally) to rate current candidates and tell us your suggestions for other messages or designs via this online survey.

Just like Independents Week originated with volunteers at the Tampa IBA, many of the tools we offer originate with ideas from people like you -- please help us keep the toolbox growing!

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See More or Subscribe. If you are viewing this alert online or via forwarding and like what you see, click here to get our free monthly bulletin delivered to your inbox. Want to check out one other edition? See our May 2010 issue.

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