July 1, 2019 By SmartBiz Team

“A dollar spent at an independent retailer is usually spent six to fifteen times in the community before heading out of town. Just $1 can create $5 to $14 of value in the immediate area.” — South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc

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There’s a lot to celebrate in July-Independence Day, Amazon Prime Day on July 8th, and Get to Know Your Customers Day on July 19. But did you know the entire month of July is dedicated to Independent Retailers? Here’s how the holiday came about and strategies you can use to celebrate and promote your own business.

The Beginning

It’s no surprise that Independent Retailer Month was founded by 2 successful entrepreneurs with common goals: encouraging consumers to shop local and celebrating indie retailers.

In 2003, ‘National Independent Retailer Week‘ was created by Tom Shay, the owner of Profits Plus. His goal was to show retailers how they could create celebrations for their communities, industries and own businesses.

In 2009 Kerry Bannigan, Co-Founder of Nolcha, launched ‘Independent Retail Week’, a week-long, city-wide, shopping celebration in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Jersey concentrating on over 400 independent fashion retailers. The city’s tourism boards, chambers of commerce, and Mayor’s office were all on board and the week was featured on major news networks.

In 2011 Bannigan and Shay came together and discussed how they wanted the celebration to include all forms of independent retailing. In July 2011, Independent Retailer Month USA was rolled out. This month was designated to highlight the important role local merchant’s play in the community and economy.

“Each $100 spent at local independents generated $45 of secondary local spending, compared to $14 for a big-box chain.” — The Institute for Local Self-Reliance

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How You Can Participate

The Independent Retailer Month website is packed with resources. Materials available for download include logos, posters, postcards and sample correspondence you can personalize and distribute to local politicians to get them involved. Of course, social media is an important way to spread the word that indie retail rocks. Download social media cover photos and profile pictures. You’ll find social content examples to engage your online community.

Be sure to use the hashtag #indieretail across your social media platforms.

The Independent Retailer Month website suggests taking advantage of the 4th of July to kick off your activities. You can give out free products, samples, or coupons. For giveaway ideas, check out this article: Promotional Items for Your Small Business.

Another strategy is to partner with other local independent retailers to host events, sales, or contests during July. An example is to offer discounts at each other’s stores to customers who show a receipt from a participating store. For ideas, check out this article from the SmartBiz Blog: Cross-Promotion and Your Small Business: Ideas for Success.

“Since 1990, big businesses eliminated 4 million jobs, while small businesses added 8 million jobs.” — Small Business Administration

Additional Holidays and Observances

Don’t stop with July! There are lots of upcoming events in 2019 you can use to promote your business. The SmartBiz Blog has a comprehensive calendar to help spark ideas. For example, August includes:

  • National Bargain Hunting Week, August 6-12
  • National Farmers’ Market Week, August 5-11
  • National Fraud Awareness Week, August 5-11
  • National Bowling Day, August 11
  • National Garage Sale Day, August 11
  • National Thrift Shop Day, August 17
  • National Mail Order Catalog Day, August 18
  • National Dog Day #NationalDogDay, August 26

Check out the rest of the year here: Marketing Calendar 2019: When to Promote Your Business. Our calendar has great ideas you can use to promote specific days and weeks.

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