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BIBA Info, News and Partnerships


  • Shopping, Visiting, Working with a local business, a farmer’s market or a local farm makes a difference to your local community and local economy?


  • When you support a locally owned business, 73% more money stays in the community and disseminates back through, and that money goes to create jobs to fund our tax base, to support our infrastructure, including our schools and roads. 


  • Independent businesses located in communities that have an active “buy local” campaign operated by a local business organization, such as BIBA, experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to those in areas without such an initiative.


  • According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of U.S. employers and in 2010 there were 27.9 million small businesses.


  • Stronger social networks are developed and they are more innovative and engaged in solving issue in their communities.

 Isn’t this the type of community that we all wish to live in?

It is part of what makes the Lakes Region of NH great!


The links below will open PDF files with useful information:

Rob Stewart / Dewey Rupert Marketing Presentation

Learn More About AMIBA, the National organization behind BIBA

Why Support Local Business


Click on the dates below to read current and past issue’s of our monthly newsletter.



BIBA on Linked In!
LinkedIn exists to help you make better use of your professional network and help the people you trust in return. You can find, be introduced to, and collaborate with qualified professionals that you need to work with to accomplish your goals. LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Click the LinkedIn icon to join the BIBA LinkedIn group today and be connected with people you may already know!

BIBA on Facebook!

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet. Now you can join the Belknap Independent Business Alliance on Facebook! Become a fan today!!


If the five million households in New England shifted 10% of their existing purchases from non-local businesses to Local Independents (locally owned and independent businesses) we would see thousands of new jobs created and billions of dollars of new economic activity in New England.

Click here to learn more: www.10percentshift.org

The Preservation Trust of Vermont
The Preservation Trust of Vermont is a charitable, nonprofit organization founded in 1980 to initiate, stimulate and assist local and statewide efforts to preserve and use Vermont’s rich collection of historic, architectural cultural and community resources.

The Trust has published a report called “10 Reasons Why Vermont’s Home Grown Economy Matters” and it’s great reading! Click here to read the report: 10 Reasons Why Vermont’s Home Grown Economy Matters

Click here to learn more: http://www.ptvermont.org/index.html


Listed below are news articles that are either related to BIBA or are related to our cause. Please click on the headlines to open the articles ‘window’ and use the scroll bars to reveal the full text of the articles.

Local Business Alliances Increase Revenue

Article pbulished in the Laconia Daily Sun – Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Survey shows alliances of independent businesses are increasing revenues

LACONIA — For the fourth year in a row, a national survey of independent businesses has found that those in communities with active Buy Independent/Buy Local (BIBL) campaigns experienced markedly stronger sales growth compared to those located in areas without such a campaign.

The survey by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance gathered data from 2,768 independent businesses, including retailers, service providers, restaurants and others. It found that those in places with a “buy local” initiative eported revenue growth of 5.6-percent on average in 2010, compared to 2.1-percent for those elsewhere.

Among retailers the benefit was even more dramatic. Those in communities with alliances like The  Belknap Independent Business Alliance (BIBA) gained a 5.2-percent increase in holiday sales, while retailers elsewhere reported an average gain of just 0.8-percent.

Educational campaigns run by independent business alliances and local first groups are underway in about
140 cities nationwide.

“I think people are becoming more aware of the immediate importance of supporting their local  businesses”, says Ana Gourlay of Sunflower Natural Foods in Laconia. “If you want that business to be there next month, or next year — you need to support it now.”

Fran Maineri from Paychecks of NH said, “New clients continually comment ‘It just makes good sense to do business locally. When there is a need to make decisions and discuss my business, you are right up the street and I enjoy the personal attention you are able to provide.”

At Laconia Village Bakery, menu items that feature local ingredients literally fly out the door. “Our customers appreciate the high quality and good taste, and they know that supporting local farmers benefits the local economy,” says owner, Kevin Halligan.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses had increased in the last year. Randy Bullerwell, owner of All My Life Jewelers said,  Possibly as many as one-third of our customers say that they are making the local choice and visit our store for that reason.”

Business owners in cities with active “BIBL” campaigns reported a wide range of positive impacts on their business. Almost half reported the campaign had brought new customers to their business and 55-percent said it had made existing customers more loyal. More than two-thirds said local media coverage of independent businesses had increased and 51-percent said local government officials were now more aware and supportive of the needs of independent businesses. Complete results from the survey may be downloaded at http://www.newrules.org

Similar surveys over the last three years likewise found that independent businesses in cities with active
“BIBL” campaigns reported stronger sales each year.

“This survey adds to the growing body of evidence that people are increasingly seeking out independent
businesses and that shift is having a tangible impact on the bottom line,” said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with ILSR, a nonprofit research and educational organization, in partnership with dozens of national and local business organizations, including the American Independent Business Alliance, American Booksellers Association, Alliance of Independent Media Stores, American Specialty
Toy Retailing Association, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, National Bicycle Dealers Association, and TriMega Purchasing Association.

“This survey offers further proof that, with sustained efforts, communities can indeed raise local   consciousness and build a culture of support for local entrepreneurs,” said Jennifer Rockne, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance. “Remarkably, most of the campaigns operated by Independent Business Alliances are funded by businesses paying $20 or less per month in dues. They’re getting quite a return on their investment.”

David Buffington of AMG Financial in Meredith says, “We are in the ‘Business Development’ business. Our membership with BIBA helps us do just that with our clients. Together we help build a stronger foundation in our community.”

Laconia Mayor Mike Seymour said, “There are a number of factors for the success of a community as a whole: great education, strong local government, and thriving local independent businesses. They provide quality jobs for local residents and goods and services at competitive prices. These business owners care because they are our neighbors. I always choose to do business with local independents whenever possible.”

For more information, contact: www.bibnh.org, or call Randy or Sue Bullerwell at All My Life Jewelers: 528-8541

Promoting and Patronizing The Local Brand

Article published Jan 26, 2010

Promoting and patronizing the local brand

For some time now there has been an organized effort to promote local businesses in the Laconia area and to get people to “buy local.”

The Belknap Independent Business Alliance — or BIBA — was established in 2008 as a way to organize and empower local independent businesses and the community.

The organization, which lists 88 local businesses as members, exists to promote locally owned, independent businesses in Central New Hampshire, to publicize the values provided by community-based businesses and their importance to the local economy, to prevent the displacement of community-based businesses by national and transnational chains, and to educate consumers about the benefits of locally owned, independent businesses and to motivate shoppers to support them.

Clearly if area residents spend some of their money at local, independent businesses, the economies where those businesses operate will be invigorated. It follows that, with a vibrant economic foundation, people are more self-sufficient and less dependent on help from the outside.

Economic studies have shown that, when consumers patronize a locally owned business, 30 percent more money stays in the community because of what experts call the multiplier effect. Local business owners typically live in the area and so pay taxes, use the goods and services of other local businesses and support local programs. Moreover, local businesses often serve as community hubs and are vital components of healthy neighborhoods and strong city centers. This is what is called social capital.

In Laconia, community leaders, both in the public and private sectors, have stressed the importance of supporting local businesses.

In Laconia and surrounding towns, community leaders must continue to use the “bully pulpit” to raise public attention to this matter. During last fall’s election campaign, Laconia Mayor Mike Seymour specifically mentioned BIBA as one of the local groups he would look to for input.

A healthy business environment encourages an entrepreneurial spirit that results in more jobs, better wages and more choices for consumers.

In this vein the “shop and buy local” effort is now also getting a boost from state leaders. Next week some radio listeners will hear a special public service announcement from Gov. John Lynch and New Hampshire Department of Resources & Economic Development Commissioner George Bald urging that citizens shop and buy local in order to stimulate the local economy, build stronger communities and generate job creation. The state’s merchants will also be offering special sales to both honor existing customers and create new ones.

The economic recession has hit local families and businesses hard. While many look to Washington and Concord for answers, it’s important to remind ourselves that some of the solutions start at home.

The more local leaders take up the “buy local” cause, the faster the local economy is likely to recover and the better prepared it will be to weather future downturns.

The Power of “Buy Local” Campaigns

Nationwide Survey Shows Power of “Buy Local” Campaigns

Locally-owned independent businesses outperform average retailer sales during 2009 holidays. Those with active Buy Local campaigns fared best.

MINNEAPOLIS – Jan. 14, 2010 – More holiday shoppers deliberately sought out locally owned businesses this year, according to a national survey of more than 1,800 independent businesses.

The survey found that holiday sales for independent retailers were up an average of 2.2%. That contrasts with the U.S. Department of Commerce figures released today, which show that overall retail sales were down 0.3% in December and up 1.8% in November.

The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active “Buy Independent / Buy Local” or “Local First” campaigns reported stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns. These campaigns have been launched in more than 100 cities and towns. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average increase in holiday sales of 3.0%, compared to 1.0% for those in cities without an active Buy Local initiative.

Nearly 80% of those surveyed said public awareness of the value of choosing locally owned businesses had increased in the last year (16% said it had stayed the same).
“The buzz about buying local was louder among my customers this year than any other year,” said a shoe store owner in Michigan.

“We’ve had many customers say they are making a real effort to ‘Buy Local’ this year. A number of customers said they saw an item at a chain store or online, and came back to us to purchase it,” said a retailer in Maine.

A bookstore owner in Oregon added that the growing public awareness and support for independent businesses “has been critical to our ability to stay in business during down economic times.”

The survey was conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit research organization, in partnership with several business organizations, including the American Booksellers Association, American Independent Business Alliance, American Specialty Toy Retailers Association, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and National Bicycle Dealers Association.

Similar surveys in 2009 and 2008 likewise found that independent businesses in cities with Buy Local campaigns reported stronger sales than those in communities without such an initiative.
“This survey adds to the growing body of evidence that people are increasingly bypassing big business in favor of local entrepreneurs,” said Stacy Mitchell, senior researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Amid the worst downtown in more than 60 years, independent businesses are managing to succeed by emphasizing their community roots and local ownership.”

“These results reinforce what we’ve heard from our local affiliates — that their campaigns are yielding real dividends and shifting local spending,” said Jennifer Rockne, director of the American Independent Business Alliance. “That’s good news for their local economies. Studies show that small businesses keep more dollars circulating locally and generate the majority of new jobs.”

“For the third year in a row, this study demonstrates the bottom-line impact of local business alliances running Think Local First campaigns,” said Michelle Long, executive director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. “Local entrepreneurs are the bedrock of the U.S. economy and, when they work together, they make our communities more resilient, unique, and rewarding places to live.”

“This survey demonstrates how important such campaigns are in helping independent businesses achieve greater sales,” said American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher. “This insight about consumers’ preferences is consistent with what we have seen since the launch of IndieBound in 2008. Shoppers value authenticity, they want to connect with and to strengthen their communities, and they recognize that bigger is not always better. Because of that, we believe that this is a time of great potential for locally owned businesses that are committed to working together.”

: for almost all respondents from communities with Buy Local campaigns in this survey, those campaigns are executed by groups affiliated of AMIBA or BALLE. These groups engage in year-round, community-wide educational efforts and these results may not translate to Buy Local campaigns that operate seasonally or without organizational support.
Also, all of those groups promote local and independent business. Campaigns simply urging people to shop locally to keep tax revenues local, without regard to local ownership, may or may not yield measurable impact.


Stacy Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 207-774-6792
Jennifer Rockne or Jeff Milchen, American Independent Business Alliance, 406-582-1255
Alissa Barron, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, 240-317-2247
Meg Smith, American Booksellers Association, 914-373-6641.


Thinking Outside The Box: Small local business better positioned in poor economy.

Article written by John Koziol of the Laconia Citizen

Published in the Laconia Citizen (04/01/09)

Stacy Mitchell at Laconia High SchoolDespite being smaller, independently-owned
businesses may be better poised than their “big box”
brethren to find opportunities in an economy where consumers are increasingly rediscovering the merits
of “buying local.”

That was the message Stacy Mitchell delivered
Tuesday evening to some 100 people, most of them
owners of the aforementioned businesses, who
gathered in the Laconia High School theater for a
presentation sponsored by the Belknap Independent
Business Alliance (BIBA).

The alliance is a nonprofit coalition dedicated to
promoting locally owned, independent businesses in
Central New Hampshire; informing citizens “of the
values provided by community-based businesses and
their importance to the local economy;” and
preventing the displacement of those businesses by
national and transnational chains.

Mitchell — who is a senior researcher with the New
Rules Project, which itself is a program of the
Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said the chains are
doing a pretty good job of making themselves
expendable and independent business more
attractive to consumers.

Most recently the author of Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for
America’s Independent Businesses (Beacon Press, 2006), Mitchell, in driving from her home in
Portland, Maine to Laconia, said the Lakes Region is fortunate to have a “quite remarkable” variety
and number of small, independent businesses.

That will bode well as those businesses, through BIBA, attempt to do something radical, which is to
build the area economy from the ground up instead of the top down, she said.

Decades of national, state, regional and even local planning has stressed the need to attract big
factories and retailers in the expectation that they would bring jobs and prosperity.

While the former may actually do so, the latter hasn’t, Mitchell said, even as some of the largest retail
chains in America — Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Walgreens and Rite Aid — have received
development subsidies from all levels of government.

“It hasn’t been very much of a free market. We’ve tilted the playing field” in favor of the big retailers,
Mitchell said, even as a recent study from St. Louis, Mo. found that the development subsidies don’t
always produce their hoped-for economic gains.

Subsidizing chain stores doesn’t make sense, Mitchell said, because their operations are highly fuelintensive,
requiring vast truck fleets to carry products to stores that are often located a lengthier
drive away from consumers.

“This didn’t matter in the era of cheap gasoline,” she said, but it matters now when it’s generally
accepted that fossil fuels are not only running out and getting more expensive, but also because they
are a major contributor to global warming.

Big-box retailers and shopping centers and other examples of “retail sprawl,” a study has found, cost
governments “$40 per square foot more” than a business in a traditional downtown in terms of
delivering services, Mitchell said.

America has vastly overbuilt retail developments, resulting nationally in some 1.4 billion square feet
of vacant space, she said. Before 1990, Mitchell said there was an average of 19 square feet of retail
space for every person, but from 1990 to 2005 that number shot up to 38 square feet per person
while retail spending during the same period rose only 14 percent.

Mitchell said while big box retailers take money away from communities, independently-owned
businesses help it stay there.

Every $100 spent locally will generate an additional $68 in local spending while the same $100 spent
at a chain store resulted in only $43 more spent in the community where the store is based, she said.

As those extra dollars are being spent locally, another important thing is happening, Mitchell said:
Social capital is being raised.

“There’s lots of meaningful loitering going on,” she said, as consumers not only buy whatever items
they may need from a local business, but also spend time at the store interacting with the proprietor
or fellow shoppers.

Wal-Mart takes in one out of every four dollars spent in the U.S. on groceries, but you have only a
one-in-10 chance of conversing with a fellow shopper whereas the chance of human contact is six in
10 at a farmer’s market, Mitchell said.

In addition to the social capital, which she said results in lower crime rates and greater civic
engagement, Mitchell added that independently-owned businesses give consumers expertise and
passion about products that they typically won’t get elsewhere.

Mitchell said BIBA should intensify its current “Buy Local” campaign with banners, posters, customer thank-you cards, directories, coupon books and other measures while targeting the 60
percent of consumers who currently don’t shop exclusively at either a local independent or a chain

Supporters of independently-owned businesses should work to change state laws, Mitchell said,
noting that Arizona has banned retail development subsidies while New York, in an effort to help
independent bookstores, is requiring online merchants to collect the state sales tax.

On the local level, planning and zoning regulations can be amended to make them friendlier to small
businesses and each community should have a plan to help develop small business as well as to
capitalize start-ups, Mitchell said.

To a question from Doug Holmes, who is the executive director of the Lakes Region Chamber of
Commerce, Mitchell said groups like BIBA should seek out all partnerships, including with the
chamber, that would help meet its larger goal.

In her closing remarks, Mitchell said that not so long ago, nobody knew what “organic” meant but
now it’s very hot among consumers.

“Local,” she said, “is becoming that same kind of thing.”

Buying local is good for you, too.

Article written by David Lillard of the Blue Ridge Press.
Published in the Laconia Citizen (03/13/09)

There are two hardware stores near my house. One is a big name-brand store that has everything
I need at lower prices, and they’re open seven days a week. The other has inconvenient hours —
they close at noon on Saturdays — and prices are a little higher. They don’t have nearly the same
selection either, which means sometimes I have to order parts and wait. So you’d think I’d shop at
the super-convenient big box store on the new highway. Nope. I’ve decided it’s in my economic
self-interest to shop at the local mom and pop store.

Like many Americans, I face similar decisions several times each week, weighing the advantages
of local vs. national chain supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, clothing, and electronic stores.
With the global economy in freefall, it’s tempting to vote for the quick savings promised by a
national chain, which can make you think you’re doing the right thing for your family. But a closer
look shows that the savings gained at Walmart or Sam’s Club might cost more dearly, especially in
these hard economic times.

Here are ten reasons to think local, buy local, and be local, as listed by the American Independent
Business Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes sustainable communities through strong local

1. Buying local supports you and your family. When you buy from an independent, locally owned
business, significantly more of your buying dollar stays in the community and is used to make
purchases from other local businesses, like local service providers and local advertisers (such as
this newspaper!), which helps strengthen the economic base of your hometown. (Visit
www.AMIBA.net to see case studies supporting this claim).

2. When you buy from local businesses, you’re supporting local nonprofits. Studies show that small
business owners give an average of 250 percent more dollars in donations to local nonprofits than
do large businesses. This should be especially important to any soccer mom with a son or
daughter on a team or in Scouts, or someone who enjoys local theater and the arts.

3. Buying local keeps your community unique. Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all
of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind local businesses give a distinctive character to
a place, and add to quality of life; they also bring in more tourist dollars. “When people go on
vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not
just anyplace,” says National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe.

4. Reduce your environmental impact. Locally owned businesses make more local purchases,
which means less wasted fossil fuel for deliveries from afar. Also, when you shop in town or city
centers, your purchases contribute less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution. You save
money too, whenever you can walk instead of driving to buy.

5. Local business creates more good jobs. Small, local businesses are the largest employers
nationally, and the jobs they offer create stronger links to our communities. After all, where would
you rather see a son or daughter work: at a local store where they might get valuable personal
employer referrals, or at an impersonal national chain store checkout counter?

6. When you buy local, you invest in community. Local businesses are owned by your neighbors,
people who live in your town, who are less likely to leave, and who — like you — are more
invested in the community’s future. Local businesses provide very important community allies in
tough economic times.

7. You get better service locally. Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they sell, and take more time to get to know customers. If a product causes problems, the local business is more likely to respond to your concerns in a personal way.

8. Buying local puts your taxes to good use. Local businesses, particularly those in town centers,
require little public infrastructure investment, as compared to nationally owned chains built at the
edge of town with taxpayer money for improved roads, water and sewer service.

9. You can buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy. A multitude of small
businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on the needs and
requests of local customers, assure a buyer-friendly range of product choices.

10. Buying local encourages local prosperity. A growing body of economic research shows that, in
an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest
and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive hometown

So, whenever possible, I buy local. Yeah, I may pay a little more for that new bathroom fixture at
the local hardware, and deal with the occasional frustration of inconvenient hours. But I enjoy
running into neighbors there. And nothing beats knowing the owner by name, and getting her tips
on how to get a good seal on my pipe fittings. To me, it’s worth it.

© 2009 Blue Ridge Press –
David Lillard is co-owner of a small town newspaper in West Virginia, and co-editor of Blue Ridge

City will support independent, locally owned business.

Published in the Laconia Daily Sun (03/10/09)

Laconia To Support Locally Owned Businesses

Members of the Belknap Independent Business Alliance with the Laconia City Council shortly after the council signed a pledge agreeing to shift 10% of the city’s purchases from chains to local independent

Standing from left to right are Carla Peterson, Hector’s Fine Foods; Debbie Frawley-Drake, Lakes Region Linen; Jan Boudreau, LaBelle’s Shoe Repair; Jack Polidoro; Patrick and Jane Wood, Patrick
Wood Law Office; Charlie Bullerwell, All My Life Jewelers; Roger and Pam Landry, NAPA Auto Parts; Randy and Sue Bullerwell, All My Life Jewelers; and Ken Sawyer, Franklin Savings Bank.

The City Councilors
seated (Left to Right) are Greg Knytych (Ward 1), Robert Luther (Ward 2), Henry Lipman (Ward 3), Mayor Matthew Lahey, Brenda Baer (Ward 4), Robert Hamel (Ward 5) and Armand Bolduc (Ward 6). (Kinney
O’Rourke/for The Laconia Daily Sun)