Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Black is out, plaid is in.

NABC is a founding member of New Albany First, which is our city’s new independent business association (IBA). It is the New Albany version of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA), which encourages you to Keep Louisville Weird), and is dedicated to encouraging the public to support independently owned, small local businesses.

IBAs accomplish this through three primary focus areas:

1. Public education about the greater overall value local independents often can provide (even when they are not the cheapest) as well as the vital economic, social and cultural role independent businesses play in the community.

2. Facilitating cooperative promotion, advertising, purchasing, sharing of skills and resources and other activities to help local businesses gain economies of scale and compete more effectively.

3. Creating a strong and uncompromised voice to speak for local independents in the local government and media while engaging citizens in guiding the future of their community through democratic action.

Obviously, NABC sinks or swims by being independent and locally oriented, and we have pledged support by joining New Albany First. Happily, the approaching holiday season provides a perfect opportunity to put principles into action.

We all know that “Black Friday” (Nov 25) is the biggest sales day of the year for big boxes and multinational chain stores -- the ones where the money leaves town for corporate headquarters worldwide.

In response to the media hype and saturation advertising that steer so much trade to the country's biggest, richest and largest companies on “Black Friday,” the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), of which New Albany First is a member, promotes the idea of America Unchained, which commences the weekend before Thanksgiving). Meanwhile, an initiative arising in Oakland CA called Plaid (not black) Friday is beginning to pop up in communities across the nation.

NABC aims to join in the fun on Plaid Friday this year. First and foremost, we remind you of the intent:

Instead of Black Friday it’s PLAID FRIDAY! Shift Your Shopping and wear plaid as you shop on Friday to remind yourself and others to make the 10% Shift. The 10% Shift encourages you to shift 10% of your holiday purchases from non-local businesses to Local Independents (also called indies or locally owned and independent businesses). Making the shift to local independents is one way we can build sustainable economies and create jobs in our local community.

It’s simple, and you’re not being asked to go cold turkey -- just allocate a percentage to independent local businesses, and learn what they can do for you. Here at NABC, we’re discussing what we might do on Plaid Friday beyond dressing up for the day. I have a few ideas, so stay tuned for more.

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