In 2012 the Austin Independent Business Alliance celebrated ten years of building the local movement in Austin, Texas. As the only nonprofit exclusively representing independent businesses, AIBA has worked to engage businesses and citizens alike in creating a more vibrant, sustainable community for Austin.
1. AIBA created the Buy Local Movement in Austin, which has changed the consumer landscape. Austinites are now very aware of choosing local first.
2. AIBA has elevated public awareness of the importance of buying locally, both from a cultural and an economic perspective.
3. AIBA launched the first major study of the economic impact of shopping locally (1.15 MB) versus chain stores in the landmark 2002 study of BookPeople, Waterloo Records and Borders. The results of this research have been reinforced nationally through similar studies.
4. AIBA started “Austin Unchained,” now adopted as America Unchained, to shift holiday spending to locally owned businesses.
5. AIBA has created eight IBIZ Districts® throughout Austin to bring attention to neighborhood districts filled with locally owned shops. The IBIZ Districts® program has won acclaim through an International award from the IEDC.
6. AIBA created “Celebrate Your Independents” to celebrate independently owned businesses as well as our nation’s independence on the Fourth of July. This is now a “Summer of Independents” campaign for the entire month of July.
7. AIBA publishes IndieAustin, a biannual member magazine and directory to help customers find and enjoy the rich diversity of goods and services offered by locally owned businesses.
8. AIBA provides IBuyAustin.com, which acts as a conduit of communication between local businesses and customers through listings, news, maps and much more.
9. AIBA has given voice to local business at City Hall and throughout local government. We have affected issues of the day as well as long-range planning. We authored the Local Business Manifesto (2.78 MB) presented to the city in April 2012.
10. AIBA has increased business for members and all local business through marketing campaigns that redirect customers to independents. Look for our trademark armadillo logo throughout Austin to shop with locally owned businesses.
AIBA has formed a sister organization to enhance our mission of supporting and promoting locally owned business. The Local Economies Council (LEC) is a 501(c)3 recognized by the IRS as a tax deductible organization. Having a 501(c)3 allows us to apply for grants and foundation funding.
The Local Economies Council is dedicated to:
• educating the public about the economic, cultural and community benefits of locally owned businesses
• conducting research for this purpose and to encourage the development of a vibrant, sustainable local economy by promoting local business ownership, community involvement and economic prosperity through education, support and collaboration.
We envision Austin as a place in which the Local First concept is infused in all segments of community including business, education and public service.
Watch for LEC and AIBA to work together on events and programs in the coming months.