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Austin Retailers Urge Shoppers to Ditch Chains for a Day

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Nov 1, 2003 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

Independent retailers in Austin, Texas, are calling on local residents to break the chain store habit by shopping exclusively at locally owned businesses on Saturday, November 15.

The one-day event—known as Austin Unchained—is being organized by the Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA), a association of some 200 locally owned businesses. The group is promoting Austin Unchained through tee-shirts, flyers, and posters.

AIBA has generated significant media coverage in the days leading up to the event, including appearances on local radio and television stations.

“Our core message is that there is a considerable economic impact when consumers choose to make their purchases at locally owned stores instead of chains,” said Steve Bercu, owner of BookPeople and a co-founder of AIBA.

To support AIBA’s contention, Civic Economics, a consulting firm, analyzed the potential economic impact of the event. The firm concluded that if Austin consumers shift all of their chain store spending to local businesses on that day, it could generate an additional $7.2 million in local economic activity (due to the fact that, compared to chains, local retailers spend a much larger share of their revenue within the local economy, purchasing more goods and services, such as printing and accounting, from other local businesses).

In the next issue of this Bulletin, we’ll let you know how residents responded to Austin Unchained.

Austin Independent Business Alliance

“Independent Businesses, Unite!” [PDF] by Stacy Mitchell, In Business magazine

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About Stacy Mitchell

Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.  She is the author of Big-Box Swindle and also produces a popular monthly newsletter, the Hometown Advantage Bulletin.  Connect with her on twitter and catch her TEDx Talk: Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy. More

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