Move over, Amazon Prime Day: Forbes magazine recently declared “The time is ripe to explore how small independents are reclaiming their status as a major competitive force, and as crucial components of a thriving community!” One of the ways you can help lead the charge is by celebrating July as Independent Retailer Month.

Tom Shay and Kerry Bannigan joined forces in 2011 to create Independent Retailer Month after running separate events to help promote independent retailers. Their effort has gained recognition on national TV, and has even expanded to England. The basic concept behind Independent Retailer Month is that it encourages consumers to celebrate the independent retailers in their communities. It also and engages independent retailer associations and local officials to promote shop local campaigns.

Using the hashtag #indieretail, this year’s event encourages retailers, community leaders and local organizations to take this pledge: “Join us in committing to shop independent retail year round and to use July as a time to celebrate the independent retailers that help build up our economy.”

One way that Independent Retailer Month does this is by providing a wide array of free resources. In addition to graphics for social media, postcards and signage that can be downloaded, there is a list of activity ideas. My favorites include:

• Bonus buck: Give customers a $1 coupon for every $10 they spend in your store in July. The coupon is redeemable in August

• Shopping crawl: Team up with neighboring independent retailers to host a shopping crawl providing a map and prizes for participants

• Check-in deals: Offer every shopper that “checks in” or tags to your store on social media an exclusive promotion in store

Small Business Saturday has proven to be an important way to make our voice heard during the frenzy of Black Friday promotions, so it’s great to have Independent Retailer Month to help us promote during the month when Amazon’s 36-hour  “Prime Day” will draw some 17 million transactions. We may not be able to match that, but by joining the movement to Celebrate #Indieretail we can emphasize to our communities the importance of also supporting local stores.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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