Independent Retailer Month is all about embracing the charm and authenticity that comes from shopping at locally owned and independently operated businesses in the community. There can certainly be a convenience factor to big box stores, but for this month (and hopefully others months too!) it’s time to reach into the special relationship that can be forged when local people are shopping at and supporting their local businesses!
History of Independent Retailer Month
Independent Retailer Month was established by two individuals who had a common desire to celebrate the myriad of independent retailers that are all over the globe. In 2003, Tom Shay of Profits Plus, was the original founder of “National Independent Retailer Week”, encouraging retailers to build celebrations into their own businesses, industries and communities.
Later, in 2009, Kerry Bannigan, a social entrepreneur, launched an event specifically targeted at fashion retailers in major cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey. This event was simply called “Independent Retail Week” and was a rousing success.
A couple of years later, Shay and Bannigan got together with dreams of being inclusive to all independent retailers, and in July 2011, Independent Retailer Month made its debut in the United States. That same year, the campaign for Independent Retailer Month expanded across the ocean into the UK, inspired by “The Retail Champion”, Clare Rayner.
Shortened to “Indie” Retailer Month, the event was founded to help get the people in communities and cities to work more closely with their local retailers to help engage and support independent small businesses, with the intention of creating more sustainable communities, towns and cities.
Individuals banding together in communities have incredible power to support and encourage local small businesses and independent retailers by giving them their loyalty and custom. Since the creation of National Independent Retailer Month, millions of dollars in revenue have been returned to local businesses as people start shopping locally and discovering the hometown feel that is possible from shopping among friends and neighbors.
Independent Retailer Month offers an ideal opportunity to get in and support the folks who run retail businesses in the local community. The dream of owning and running a small business is still alive and well today, and this is the perfect time to make it even more sustainable for everyone.
While the hope is that people will be more intentional about shopping at local businesses all year round, Independent Retailer Month is the time to show some special love by advocating for and celebrating each of the individuals, families and small business partnerships that are behind these incredible independent retailers!
How to Celebrate Independent Retailer Month
There can be quite a few different ways to celebrate Independent Retailer Month, to show support of small businesses and local communities, including some of these ideas:
Shop Independent Retailers
The most prominent way to get involved with Independent Retailer Month is getting out there and shopping at local stores and farmers markets. For example, instead of buying honey from some distant hive, it is possible to pick it up from a local beekeeper and know that it’s all been born and bred in the nearby community! Milk doesn’t get much fresher than when it’s purchased from the dairy down the street, and you know that when you buy from a local store, all of that money stays in the community helping to keep the local flavor alive.
Many small businesses will be hosting special events and celebrations in honor of Independent Retailer Month, so be sure to attend and participate in these to show support.
Promote Independent Retailer Month
Local folks who dwell across towns and cities in the US, the UK and other places all over the world can show support to the “indie” retailer and build community by creating a local event with Independent Retailer Month. Check with governing bodies such as the local Chamber of Commerce, the small business association, tourism boards and many other groups of people who have a vested interest in celebrating this event.
Find marketing materials, tool kits and other resources needed for promoting Indie Retailer Month, as well as ideas for promotional activities, on the Independent Retailer Month website. Ideas such as meet & greets, community talent contests, charity giving, happy hours and so many others can be enjoyed and used to bolster and build up the effectiveness and uniqueness of independent retailers and small business owners.