By Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
There are few places where the impact of local businesses has been more researched than Chicago. At least two well-respected buy local studies have been completed based on Chicago neighborhoods, and the results of those studies have been used to defend small and local businesses across the country. In Chicago, where the results are perhaps most relevant, Local First Chicago works to raise awareness of the research, as well as the very small businesses that produced the important results.
In 2012, Civic Economics, with support from the American Booksellers Association, compared the impact of local businesses in two Chicago neighborhoods – Andersonville and Six Corners – to the impact of national chains on the local economy. Both times, Civic Economics found that the local businesses reinvested more than three times the amount of their revenue into the community. The studies in Andersonville and Six Corners are part of Civic Economics’ Indie Impact Study Series, in which the group studied data from participating local businesses in communities throughout the country to gain a more holistic view of the impact that small businesses have on their local economies.
Local First Chicago is an independent business association in the Windy City that represents small businesses, like those involved in Civic Economics’ research. As such, Local First Chicago uses these research studies to its members’ advantage, sharing them with consumers, spreading the buy local message and promoting local businesses across all Chicago neighborhoods.
The Illinois indie group also makes it easier for Chicago’s local businesses to take advantage of the data. Local First Chicago provides branded window decals, promotional posters and other items to its members, enabling those businesses to stand out from the national chains in their Chicago community. The group also shares information about local businesses, including their basic business and contact information, their events and their ideas. To become involved, local businesses can request a listing in Local First Chicago’s directory, post an event on the website or volunteer to write for the blog.
Who better to promote the benefits of local businesses than the businesses where those benefits have actually been measured? Local First Chicago encourages its members to leverage the readily available data published by Civic Economics to support the local business community as a whole. For more information, visit www.localfirstchicago.org.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.