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something here. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)

CONWAY — The White Mountain Independents, an association of local independent businesses, joins other independent businesses around the country this week in opening its annual Shop Indie Local holiday campaign.

The campaign, created by the American Independent Business Alliance and running throughout the months of November and December, encourages individuals and businesses to shift more of their holiday shopping, entertaining and dining to locally owned and independent businesses. Sixty business alliances and networks in towns and cities throughout North America participate in the campaign.

Shop Indie Local is a time to celebrate locally owned businesses and shift spending from chain stores and online giants to these businesses.  This campaign inspires individuals to take positive action by boosting the ripple effect of economic and community benefits received when they spend dollars at locally owned and independent businesses. 

Shop Indie Local reminds people that the holiday season is full of friendly, community-centered alternatives to the consumer frenzy that descends upon the nation each November. 

As part of the Shop Indie Local festivities, White Mountain Independents will once again be holding the Shop Small and Win Big weekend Friday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec 1.

Shop Small and Win Big is a game designed to help shoppers shift their shopping to local, independent choices. It can be played all weekend with the chance to win big. One winner will win a grand prize gift basket worth $500 and several other winners will take home gift certificates to participating stores.

Shoppers are encouraged to pick up a game board at any White Mountain Independents store — there are 27 throughout the valley — or download from the website whitemountainindependents.com.

Shoppers will receive a stamp from individual businesses when they make a purchase.

Those who get five stamps will be entered into the prize drawing. Shoppers who get more than five stamps will be entered again for each additional stamp.

Completed Shop Small and Win Big board games can be turned in to any White Mountain Independents retail shop.

Winners will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“We wanted to add some fun to the weekend while encouraging people to venture into a new store or two,” said Deb Jasien, owner of Fields of Ambrosia and president of the White Mountain Independents. “People can go to their top five favorite stores, or they can branch out and check out something new. And they have all weekend to do it with absolutely no pressure!”

Game boards will also be available in The Conway Daily Sun on Saturday, Nov. 16, and Friday, Nov. 22.

The campaign also makes a timely economic case for buying local. Every dollar spent at a local, independent business returns two to three times more to be re-spent in the community compared to a dollar spent at a non-local business.

With consumers reporting that they will spend an average $1,007 for holiday shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation, a shift to local purchases represents a significant contribution to local jobs and taxes.

Sustained “buy local” campaigns have demonstrated their capacity to shift sizable portions of that spending from chains and remote businesses to local entrepreneurs, according to the Institute for Local Self Reliance. The institute indexes key local economy studies at ilsr.org.

Derek Peebles, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance, notes that redirecting spending on gifts, dining, beverages, decorations, party planning and local experiences creates an opportunity to make a real impact on each participating community’s local economy.

“Regardless of the size of your holiday budget, each dollar matters when we Shop Indie Local," he said. "Your gift today to a family member or friend can build a legacy in your community tomorrow.”

The American Independent Business Alliance Shop Indie Local campaign provides a gateway to resources from many community campaigns and includes easy-to-use graphics and activities that allow participating partners to spread the critical message easily where they live.

Go to shopindielocal.org for information on the campaign, partnering organizations, special events and stories from communities.

White Mountain Independents is a valleywide network of locally owned and operated businesses that have joined together to promote the positive economic and community benefits of spending dollars locally.

Individually and as an organization, the White Mountain Independents support other local organizations, charities and activities and are all involved in the community effort. Find out more at whitemountainindependents.com.

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