Local independent businesses are owned in the Boulder area and include many one-of-a-kind stores. These unique stores help define Boulder shopping. The benefits of shopping at local independent stores are broader than meets the eye.
Missing the Winter Olympics? Ease the pain with a visit to the USOC Training Center in Colorado Springs, where all Vancouver and Team USA Vancouver merchandise is half price at the USOC Training Center Shop, 1750 E. Boulder St., at the intersection of Boulder Street and Union Boulevard, 719-866-4792. All proceeds help support Team USA, which will make all those snazzy new items feel even better. The shop is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the Training Center also offers free tours -- so make a day of it.
More groups are forming to send shoppers to home-grown independent businesses. But their impact on jobs is hard to quantify.
By now, residents of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood have figured out that their trendy new coffee shop, 15th Ave. Coffee & Tea, is actually owned by Starbucks. With fresh flowers, beans ground to order, and a "help yourself" policy regarding used coffee grounds—for composting, of course—the store could pass for a locally owned café.
From Cleveland to Tempe, economic developers are convincing institutions with big spending power to shift more dollars to small businesses in their communities.
"Buy local" campaigns normally encourage consumers to shop at small downtown stores—the funky café, indie bookseller, or boutique grocer. Getting big institutions to switch to local suppliers has rarely been part of the equation.
But small business groups and economic developers are beginning to push big buyers like governments, universities, and hospitals to see what goods and services they can purchase locally. Advocates say a small shift in spending by these organizations can yield a profound benefit for small businesses in their communities.
Prom dresses, $10 If you know any families who will have to strain the budget to buy a prom dress, please tell them about the Prom Dress Exchange, where more than 3,000 gorgeous, gently used and freshly cleaned prom dresses will be available between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21, at Copper Fields Events Chateau, 4901 Marshall St., Wheat Ridge, 720-898-8388. No one will insist, but a $10 donation to defray the cost of cleaning would be appreciated. This is the 10th Prom Dress Exchange for Copper Fields owner Cheryl Wise, who knows that the need is particularly great this year. She wants to make sure every dress finds a proud owner. So please help spread the word by printing out a few copies of this item and posting it on bulletin boards wherever high school girls or their families might see it.
Since this summer, I have been covering the ever growing movement of local governments adopting (or at the least formally encouraging) an internal purchasing preference to that which is local. This includes proclamations supporting local vendors as well as point systems that favor awarding contracts to local bidders. Now, I just got wind of an executive order issued by Colorado Governor Bill Ritter directing state agencies to adhere to the Buy American Provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Though this isn't the typical hyper-localized "buy local" proclamation you're used to seeing, it is very important to consider the relative perspective of government-sized purchasing initiatives. This legislation isn't necessarily going to fuel a small town's economy or support a community that's easily tangible to the individual, but it certainly is focused on keeping money within the United States, which will affect us all in the long run.
More holiday shoppers deliberately sought out locally owned businesses this year, according to a national survey of more than 1,800 independent businesses.
The survey found that holiday sales for independent retailers were up an average of 2.2%. That contrasts with the U.S. Department of Commerce figures released today, which show that overall retail sales were down 0.3% in December and up 1.8% in November.
The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active "Buy Independent / Buy Local" or "Local First" campaigns reported stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns. These campaigns have been launched in more than 100 cities and towns. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average increase in holiday sales of 3.0%, compared to 1.0% for those in cities without an active Buy Local initiative.
Janet Simons, author of the Colorado Smart Shopper, blogger ofBest Colorado Deals,and veteran Rocky Mountain News shopping columnist discusses her New Year's resolutions to integrate more local shopping into her life. Exerpt taken from the BestColoradoDeals.com newsletter, a publication dedicated to independent shoppers and retailers.
Local shopping is hot
I entered the phrase “2010 trends buy local” into Google, and got back 9,120,000 results, a pretty good indication that buying local is going to be a pretty big deal in the coming year, and probably well beyond.
Money is tight, though, and it can be hard to pay even a few more cents for a product purchased from a locally based retailer instead of a national chain. Multiplied by thousands of transactions, however, those few cents can make the difference between survival and failure for the local businesses that keep our neighborhoods and state economically strong. So I’m making my resolutions for the coming year public this year, in the hope that they might catch on.