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 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.

In Op-Ed for Fortune ILSR Details the High Cost of Cashless Retail Trend

Originally published in Fortune
by Charlie Thaxton

Cashless retail is on the rise and has begun to concern some lawmakers. New Jersey recently banned the practice. Philadelphia has done the same. So far, the debates leading up to these laws have mostly centered on how cash-free establishments exclude unbanked citizens.

In a commentary piece for Fortune, ILSR researcher Charlie Thaxton details another major cost. Cashless retail — and credit cards in general — allow a handful of credit card monopolies and big banks to siphon billions of dollars from consumers and businesses through the swipe fees they charge merchants. These fees amounted to $79 billion last year.

Businesses, especially small ones, have little leverage to negotiate these fees, which average about 2 percent of a transaction. Refusing to accept Visa and Mastercard isn’t a viable option, either. READ MORE.

AIBA works for local business. Join us and reap the benefits.

Locally owned? We’re here for you. AIBA is the only nonprofit in town that represents local business through advocacy, marketing, connecting the community and more. We’re technically a chamber of commerce but we’re also the only chamber that markets our members directly to consumers through ibuyaustin.com, social media and newsletters. Your members tell the true story…

“AIBA is a fantastic community of like-minded local business owners, who receive support from the leadership of the AIBA for city government advocacy as well as promotion of their individual businesses and small- and locally-owned businesses in general in Austin.”

—Jody Reyes, WhichCraft Taproom

“I treasure my AIBA membership for the contacts I’ve made and the networking opportunities organized each month. This unique group is informed, forward thinking, and committed to a culture that addresses business issues such as growth and recognition as well as focusing on whole person health as a balancing element.”

—Aida Pollard, CG&S Design Build

“AIBA is about community. As an organization AIBA does a phenomenal job of supporting their members and facilitating connections. AIBA checks all the boxes you look for in a business organization (value in marketing, local advocacy, networking, etc.), but more importantly, AIBA is a community of businesses that care about their team mates and each other. AIBA members have fun and enjoy time around each other. AIBA is a microcosm of what we all know and love about Austin – weird, fun, innovative, savvy and uniquely Austin.”

—Nolan Gore, Top Choice Lawn Care

“Precision Camera has been a member of AIBA for over 10 years. We see the value of promoting local businesses, and AIBA is in the forefront of doing just that. Members have a wealth of experience to lean on when advice is needed by attending meetings and events and mixing things up with other local businesses. They say you get what you put in, and this is true of AIBA.”

—Gregg Burger, Precision Camera

Join before May 25 to be included in the next IndieAustin, our member magazine distributed throughout Austin. Get Certified AustinTRUE!