Friday, November 23, 2012

'Buy local' campaigns help small businesses

This week’s ShopTalk story on Small Business Saturday promotions also talks about what’s happening in different communities to help local merchants compete for business year-round.

Area efforts include Cash Mob shoppers in Charlotte and Concord, and RelyLocal, a national effort marketing small businesses, with a group at work in Matthews, Mint Hill and Indian Trail.

In Historic Downtown Concord, which has shops, restaurants and galleries, the local development corporation even extended Small Business Saturday from a one-time event to a once-a-month promotion.

Now comes a new independent business survey by the Washington D.C.-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which shows that similar public awareness campaigns are paying off for local merchants.

According to the survey, independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local” campaign operated by a local business organization reported revenue growth of 7.2 percent in 2011, compared to 2.6 percent for those in areas without such an initiative.

Retailers in areas with buy local campaigns reported a holiday sales growth of 8.5 percent in 2011, compared to 5.2 percent for retailers in areas without these campaigns.

And 85 percent of respondents said shopping locally-owned, independent businesses matters to some or most of their customers.

The institute’s 2012 Independent Business Survey included 1,768 businesses, and was conducted during an eight-day period in January. See more here.