Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) kicks off the holidays with Austin Unchained on November 19 and continues through December 24 with lots of specials and activities to encourage shopping locally to benefit local community.
Each year national chains displace locally owned businesses, AIBA reverses that trend by assisting neighborhood business districts as destination locations in becoming an Independent Business Investment Zone (IBIZ) District. These Districts are located all over Austin and are home to an exciting variety of locally owned businesses promoting the neighborhood’s unique blend of services and goods not found in big box retailers. Whether exploring the businesses on East 6th St or the South First IBIZ District just south of the river to Oltorf, each of the eight, including more than 400 businesses, IBIZ district reflects the culture, not just of Austin, but the local neighborhood it is in.
Shop Local for the Holidays builds a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding gift-buying experience through holiday messages spread by billboards, posters, table tents, and ads. For more details on the various districts to visit and upcoming events view: www.IBuyAustin.com This season’s activity highlights will be:
November 19: Launch of Austin Unchained Day with Holiday Window Shopping Contest in IBIZ Districts. Retailers will compete for the public’s votes on the best holiday window. There will be a drawing for prizes for the voting public as well as prizes for one winner from each district. Voting will take place at IBuyAustin.com/WindowShoppingContest
December 5: Window Shopping winners announced from each district. Now all district winners will compete for one grand prize winning window.
December 14: The grand prize winner of the Window Shopping Contest is announced.
December 15: North Loop Holiday Night Out. Merchants in the North Loop IBIZ District hold late night shopping hours and special sales for holiday shoppers. 6-9 pm
December 16: South First Happy Holiday Hour. Merchants in the South First IBIZ District hold late night shopping hours and special sales for holiday shoppers. 5-9 pm.
AIBA organization supports and promotes locally owned businesses through member services, public education and advocacy for local business. Austin Unchained originated in Austin in 2004 as a program of the Austin Independent Business Alliance. Austin Unchained was adopted by the American Independent Business Alliance as America Unchained and is now celebrated across the nation.
A 2010 study by the Institute for Self Reliance revealed that retailers in communities with a “Shop Local’ campaign enjoyed a 5.2 percent increase in holiday season sales while independent retailers elsewhere reported a mere 0.8 percent increase. This holiday season remember to “Think Local. Be Local. Buy Local.”
By Monica Pena