Austin Independent Business Alliance, a group of locally owned and managed independent businesses, challenge shoppers to break the chain habit and shop locally owned. On one of the busiest shopping days of the year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, it is estimated that a staggering $14 million would be added to our local economy while helping preserve Austin’s local character, if everyone in Austin bought and used local services. The initiative began in response to an Economic Impact Analysis bringing attention to the economic and cultural impact of consumers shopping at only locally owned businesses for one day.
“For every $100 in customer spending at a national chain, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with a local merchant yields $45, more than three times the local economic impact,” AIBA on consumers making modest changes.
Neighborhood destination locations called IBIZ (Independent Business Investment Zone) Districts are comprised of a variety of businesses promoting the uniqueness of their neighborhood flair. The shopping experiences range from services like Austin Natural Family Medicine on Rosewood to eateries like Blue Dahlia Bistro located east of IH35 and Salon Muse to Sledd’s Nursery on West Lynn in old West Austin in the Clarksville neighborhood. Shoppers can experience boutiques, galleries, and bars from South Lamar from Goodrich to Oltorf or hip vintage finds at locations like Ermine Vintage, Hogwild Texas Vintage, and Room Service Vintage in the North Loop Strip. South First has become home to many restaurants while also offering visitors an assortment of to dos involving locations like tattoo shops (Blindside Tattoos and Gully Cat Tattoo) and Southside Bicycle Shop. Events adding to the appeal of each district’s unusualness at the venues involve entertainment that can vary from live music, art exhibits, book signing to puppet shows.
After the first Austin Unchained event, over 40 organizations all over the country from Austin to New York under the American Unchained campaign have duplicated the successful initiatives. To guarantee the continued positive shift from this movement, buyers are urged to celebrate Austin Unchained mid November and throughout the year by choosing a locally owned business, buying their goods and choosing their services. “Think Local. Be Local. Buy Local.” ~ Austin Independent Business Alliance, www.ibuyaustin.com .
By Monica Pena
Austin Times Staff