More Cities Pass Laws to Block Dollar Store Chains

Originally Published in ILSR Hometown Advantage
by Charlie Thaxton

Last March, Randall Woodfin, the mayor of Birmingham, Ala., presented the City Council with new data on food insecurity in the city. The numbers were stark: 69 percent of Birmingham residents live in a food desert, meaning they have to travel a mile or more to reach a grocery store selling fresh food. For the city’s low-income residents who depend on walking and public transit, that can make picking up groceries a long and arduous process.

Many residents end up shopping at dollar stores for food instead, the mayor reported. Although most dollar stores sell no fresh foods and offer only a narrow selection READ MORE.

AIBA Members: ACC Wants to do Business With You!

When I met with the Purchasing Department at Austin Community College, were excited to learn that the College is focusing on doing business with as many local businesses as possible! And they’ve worked to create a system that’s east to navigate, register and create sales for your business.

Think you’re too small for big college contracts? Think again. I was surprised to learn that purchases occur, not as an entire college, but by district and department. Think beyond reams of paper or janitorial supplies (but, yes, they need those too). Because ACC teaches so many practical classes, they need 100 spatulas for cooking classes and 50 wrenches for auto class. Volumes you can easily accommodate.

Austin Community College has created a new department called the ACC Small Business Development Program (SBDP) specifically for you. And that’s what makes this so exciting.

SBDP was established to encourage increased participation of small, local and emerging businesses in purchasing and contracting opportunities offered by the College. The SBDP is a race– and gender– neutral program that aims to ensure all segments of local businesses are provided the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in all purchasing and contracting opportunities.

ACC has developed an online vendor registration for all businesses that are interested in providing goods and services, professional services, non-professional services and construction services to the District. This list will also include certified Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) vendors.

To become a vendor with Austin Community College, you will need to register in the ACC management system by visiting www.austincc.edu/sbdpvendor and completing the registration process. Vendor registration is a two-step process, FIRST, create a profile in the nationwide diversity management system and SECOND, complete the ACC-specific vendor registration.

A Small Local Business Enterprise (SLBE) is defined as an independently owned firm that is not dominant in its industry, and that satisfies all requirements of being both a “Small Business Enterprise” and a “Local Business Enterprise.”

What are you waiting for? Register now. AIBA is excited to able to connect you with this great opportunity.

For more Information, contact:
Kelli Hollins, MS, MBA
Small Business Development Program Coordinator
kelli.hollins@austincc.edu
512-223-1039
www.austincc.edu

AIBA Proposes A Better Process

Austin politics today are often unnecessarily divisive and destructive. Our community faces challenges in dealing with employer-employee issues such as paid sick leave, livable wages, and predictive scheduling. We have a great opportunity to come together to address these issues and find solutions. We are a smart, creative city. We can find solutions to even the most difficult problems—if we work collectively and respectfully. We need A Better Process.

Local businesses are a crucial part of our community. Entrepreneurs with the vision and drive to create small local businesses exemplify the hopes and dreams of everyone who wants to control their economic destiny. Their employees are part of their team, some consider them family. Local business owners care for their team in every way they can. We’re stewards of culture and commerce.

Cooperation will achieve the best results

Last year, AIBA formed a Better Process Committee tasked with researching other cities and states to find better processes to achieve our shared community goals. What we found led us to create a proposal for a better process to address employer-employee issues.

First, we propose a local study of each issue to identify the full scope of the problems. Accurate data and understanding the scope of a problem will lead to better, more targeted, solutions that help those who need it the most and won’t give state lawmakers cause to deprive us of local control.

The second step is to convene a Workplace Task Force of organizations representing all segments of business and employee organizations. This task force would be charged with reviewing the study of each problem and finding solutions to recommend to the City Council.

The third step is to take the time to do an impact study of any proposed policies. The speed of enacting the paid sick leave ordinance created an ordinance fraught with unintended consequences and left some feeling excluded.

Good government governs in the best interest of all the people, not just one group. Local policy should not provide benefits for one segment by punishing another. By working collectively, other communities have found ways to address their issues that worked for everyone. AIBA is proposing that Austin do the same. We are asking the Austin City Council to adopt A Better Process.

2019 Independent Business Survey Results

This was originally published by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR). AIBA members participated in the study.

The results of the 2019 Independent Business Survey from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance demonstrate the strength and resiliency of small, independent businesses. They also speak to the forces independents see as significant threats and roadblocks to their businesses: a playing field made uneven by policies that favor their bigger competitors, highly concentrated markets for key supplies and services, and difficulty securing capital, among other barriers.

As we have documented in previous surveys, independent businesses have proven nimble during a period of dramatic shifts in technology and consumer habits. Much of their resilience can be traced to the distinct benefits they provide to their customers, industries, and communities.

Yet, despite these competitive advantages and their broader importance to the U.S. political economy, independent businesses are under threat and declining in most industries. The findings of our 2019 Independent Business Survey suggest that the problem isn’t changing technology or consumer habits. Instead, independent business owners say they are often competing on a unlevel playing field. Many public policy decisions in recent years have fueled market concentration and favored their big competitors….READ MORE.

AIBA Member Showcase Videos Available

AIBA members can receive a free Facebook video. Just sign up! Once a week, AIBA shoots a short video promoting one of our members. It’s then posted on Facebook and made available to the member for their use. This only takes about 15 minutes. Did I mention that it’s free? I have openings beginning next week. Email Rebecca to reserve your’s.

The video can be a demonstration or instructional video up to five minutes or a quick pitch of what you can offer customers. We can do a walkthrough of your business or set up a stationary shoot. It’s up to you.

Check our Facebook page for the latest video of the Business Success Center.

AIBA KOOP Radio Show is Silent

Members have been asking about the local business community radio show we’ve been working on with KOOP Radio. Last fall we were invited to create a radio show that focused on local business and our role in the Austin community. We worked with KOOP Radio to develop a radio show appropriate for public radio and to train to become a programmer at KOOP. The Koop Programming Committee decided that a show about local business did not fit within the station format and denied our application. Since we have developed a show outline and content, we are exploring other options to use the material. We’ll keep you posted.