Given its proximity to Silicon Valley, San Francisco is a city known for its start-ups. However, it’s not just the futuristic, high-tech companies that matter to the national and local economy. Representing more than 200 local, small businesses, the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance (SFLOMA) supports the spectrum of brick and mortar businesses that fill the Bay Area with a diverse retail experience.
Founded in 2000, SFLOMA brings together local leaders from a variety of industries. The alliance represents independent banks, bookstores, supermarkets, wineries and more from across the Bay Area. For these member businesses, SFLOMA offers online promotion via its local merchants database and useful research via relevant articles and studies. As its name suggests, SFLOMA’s ultimate goal is to support locally owned merchants by encouraging consumers to shop local first.
A decade ago, SFLOMA commissioned its own study to demonstrate the importance of shopping local. Working with Civic Economics and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, SFLOMA in 2007 released the San Francisco Retail Diversity Study, the first comprehensive, regional picture of the Bay Area’s retail market. Like other studies of its kind, the San Francisco Retail Diversity Study built a compelling case for supporting independent businesses.
According to the study, if just 10 percent of purchases made in the San Francisco market were shifted from national chains to small businesses, the local economy could gain almost 1,300 new jobs and nearly $200 million in incremental economic activity each year. What’s more, San Francisco workers would feel the effects of the local shift in the form of nearly $72 million in new income.
Ten years later, the message behind SFLOMA’s 2007 study remains just as relevant, and the alliance remains just as committed to supporting retail diversity. That’s evident in the wide range of businesses that call themselves SFLOMA members, from insurance companies to record stores. These businesses identify themselves as locally owned merchants and SFLOMA members with their complimentary window decals and posters. Perhaps more importantly, they also work together to guide the alliance forward for all of San Francisco’s small businesses.
An economy is only as resilient as it is diverse – that’s true no matter the year. In San Francisco, locally owned merchants have long come together to measure and promote the impact of small businesses through SFLOMA. In the end, the diversity they foster keeps the entire community stronger and more vibrant. For more information about the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance, visit www.sfloma.org.