By Alex Gladu, IWS Content Team
There’s Small Business Saturday, Record Store Day and Independents Week, but we couldn’t fail to mention a few more leading buy local campaigns. Whether they’re mobilizing a specific community or highlighting a niche industry, these campaigns put local businesses center stage – and they have fun while doing it. In no particular order, here’s a look at the next five game-changing buy local campaigns that are bolstering local economies and shaping local communities.
Lace Up Local is the Independent Running Retailers Association (IRRA)’s buy local campaign, which encourages consumers to shop local for their fitness needs. Lace Up Local seeks to educate consumers about the importance of buying local and to help consumers locate independent running retailers in their community. The IRRA also promotes national campaigns like Running Safety Month.
Oakland Grown, an organization of local entrepreneurs and independent business owners in Oakland, California, have chosen to rename Black Friday as Plaid Friday. They prefer Plaid Friday because they hope to weave together a strong fabric from the metaphorical threads of the colorful small businesses that make up Oakland. Plaid Friday is meant to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience, unlike the notoriously chaotic and stressful Black Friday shopping encouraged by big-box stores. Although it has started and grown in Oakland, participating stores can be found across the country, showing off plaid placards in their windows and offering special Plaid Friday deals.
Sponsored by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the Better Way to Stay campaign promotes locally owned, independent inns and bed-and-breakfasts. Better Way to Stay promotes the amenities that these accommodations provide that national chain competitors just can’t match, like complimentary afternoon and evening refreshments and a personal approach to customer service. The campaign also features B&Bs for Vets, a gesture that thanks veterans for their military service by offering special deals at independent bed-and-breakfasts on Veterans’ Day.
A joint effort by AMIBA, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Sixdegrees.org and Causetown, Shift Your Shopping encourages consumers to choose local businesses, rather than national chains, during the holiday shopping season. More than 160 independent businesses across the U.S. and Canada work together to pull off and promote the campaign. Shift Your Shopping offers free marketing materials and webinars to small businesses to help them engage their community throughout the holiday season.
Each summer, Candlewick Press and the American Booksellers Association turn the popular book series Where’s Waldo into a month-long activity in celebration of independent bookstores. Member bookstores host a Where’s Waldo-themed scavenger hunt, in which customers have to visit several businesses in the area to get their “passport” stamped to be eligible for prizes. The event brings media attention and customers to local bookstores and provides family fun during the summer months when kids are out of school, winning over parents, kids and the local economy.
These campaigns, and the countless other buy local projects, programs and events hosted across the country, really make a difference for small businesses and local economies. They give consumers a reason to shop local, and they give communities a reason to come together in celebration. If you know of a great buy local campaign that wasn’t featured on our list, we’d love to hear about it! Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.