In Boulder, Buying Local Pays

Date: 1 Mar 2001 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Residents of Boulder, Col. no longer have to choose between supporting a locally owned retailer and shopping elsewhere for a better deal. For $15—less than the price of membership at one warehouse buying club—they can purchase a Community Benefit Card from the Boulder Independent Business Alliance (BIBA). The card provides discounts and other benefits at more than 60 local businesses, with most knocking 10 percent off every product and service they offer.

The card can be purchased at local stores or from several nonprofit organizations. In exchange for distributing the card, nonprofits keep half of the proceeds to fund their own programs. “We have always tried to point out the interdependence of community nonprofits and independent businesses,” says BIBA Director Jeff Milchen. “With this program, we believe we’ve developed an effective tool to help both entities.”

Founded in 1998, BIBA is perhaps the oldest and most successful independent business alliance of its kind in the country. The organization, which has more than 150 members, coordinates joint marketing and promotional programs that encourage residents to support locally owned businesses. “Put Your Money Where Your House Is,” “Local Businesses are Your Best Value,” and “You’re Not a Clone. Why Shop at One?” are among the slogans that appear on BIBA’s print ads, window decals, and other marketing tools.

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Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Independent Business Initiative, which produces research and designs policy to counter concentrated corporate power and strengthen local economies.