Back to top Jump to featured resources
Article filed under Independent Business

In Boulder, Buying Local Pays

| Written by Stacy Mitchell | No Comments | Updated on Mar 1, 2001 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

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.

Tags: / / /

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

Contact Stacy   |   View all articles by Stacy Mitchell