Louisville has one of the nation’s most vibrant independent retail communities according to a new study presented earlier this year at the Advocates for Independent Retail National Leadership Summit. The city ranked among the top 10 in the nation when grouped by population and region.
The American Booksellers Association commissioned the Indie City Index to quantify the vitality of independent retail nationwide and to establish a basis for future research. The study evaluated data for all 363 of the U.S. Census Bureau-designated Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), ranking them in order of the percentage of retail sales generated by locally owned, independent businesses compared to sales generated by retail chains.
Independent business advocates have long cited economic and social benefits for communities that have a strong group of independent retailers. The Louisville Independent Business Alliance has promoted a “Buy Local First” and “Keep Louisville Weird” campaign since 2004 to educate the general public about these benefits.
Another study presented at the retail summit highlighted the success of buy-local movements. The 2011 Independent Business Post-Holiday Survey found that retailers in cities with active buy-local initiatives had year-over-year revenue gains that were more than twice those of retailers in cities without such initiatives. The survey, which gathered data from nearly 2,800 independent businesses across all 50 states, found that independent businesses in cities with active buy-local or local-first initiatives had revenue gains in 2010 of 5.6 percent over 2009, compared to 2.1 percent for independent businesses in cities without such initiatives.