2014 Independent Business Survey
The following summary extract from the 2014 Independent Business Survey summarizes the fundamental reason we exist as an organization:
“The Local First movement is influencing buying habits. A large majority of businesses located in cities with an active Local First campaign reported that the initiatives had brought in new customers and/or generated other specific benefits. These businesses experienced revenue growth of 7.0% in 2013, compared to 2.3% for those in places without such an initiative.”
Published in February 2014 by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, this survey is the 7th annual of its kind conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a forty year old nonprofit with the following mission: “To provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development.”
Here are the Key Findings from the 2014 Survey:
The 2014 Independent Business Survey gathered data from 2,602 independent, locally owned businesses across all 50 states. A little over half of the respondents are retailers and the remainder encompass a wide variety of industries. Among the survey’s key findings:
Sales Growth — Independent businesses reported revenue growth of 5.3% on average in 2013.
Holiday Sales — The retailers surveyed experienced a 1.4% increase in same-store holiday sales, which
was comparable and, in some cases, superior to the holiday sales results of competing chains.
Buy Local — The Local First movement is influencing buying habits. A large majority of businesses located in cities with an active Local First campaign reported that the initiatives had brought in new customers and/or generated other specific benefits. These businesses experienced revenue growth of 7.0% in 2013, compared to 2.3% for those in places without such an initiative.
Biggest Challenges — Competition from large internet companies was rated as the biggest challenge facing independent businesses, particularly among retailers, 69% of whom ranked it as a very or extremely significant challenge. Other leading concerns include supplier pricing that favors big competitors, high costs for health insurance, and escalating commercial rents.
Internet Sales Tax — More than three-quarters of independent retailers said that the fact that many online companies are not required to collect sales tax had negatively impacted their sales, with 41% describing the level of impact on their sales as “significant.”
Access to Credit — The survey found that access to credit is a major barrier impeding expansion for a sizable minority of independent businesses. While only one-third of the businesses surveyed applied for a bank loan in the last two years, of those that did seek financing, 42% either failed to obtain a loan or received a loan for less than the amount they needed.
Policy Priorities — Independent businesses ranked the following as their top policy priorities: eliminating public subsidies for big companies, capping credit card swipe fees, lowering taxes, and passing legislation to extend sales tax collection to large online retailers.
We encourage you to CLICK HERE to read the complete survey.
CLICK HERE to learn all about the Institute for Local Self Reliance and to explore the depth and breadth of their important work.
Brookline Local Economy Resolution
The following is the full text of Warrant Article 29, proposed by Brookline Local First for this May’s Brookline Town Meeting to consider:
Brookline Local Economy Community Resolution
Petitioner: Brookline Local First
Point of contact Adam Mitchell, Town Meeting Member Precinct 2
The Town of Brookline has long been at the forefront of innovation ideas, creativity and most importantly action; and
The most critical action any town can take to diminish the effects of national economic crisis and assist its residents is to do everything possible to strengthen its local economy; and
Research has shown that $2 of every $3 spent at locally owned businesses stays in the local economy; however, only $1 of every $3 spent at chain stores or public companies stays in the local economy; and
The money spent at local independently owned businesses has given residents a more healthy, vibrant and sustainable community; and
Brookline is most fortunate to have many locally owned and independent businesses that are critical components to its local economy. However these locally owned businesses have had a difficult time in this economy; and
These difficulties necessitate a much more proactive approach by town government to support the local economic development for citizens to realize a positive impact, and now therefore be it
That the Town of Brookline declare itself a “Local Economy Community” welcoming, and encouraging local entrepreneurship; and
That the Town Administrator, School Department the Selectmen, and all departments:
1. Determine how the Town can increase procurement from Locally Owned Independent Businesses.
2. Ensure that locally or regionally owned banks participate and are given whatever preference is lawfully allowed when bids for town banking services are requested.
3. Support whatever efforts are made by the school committee to increase the percentage of locally grown and produced food served to students and staff; and
That the Selectmen, Town Administrator, School Department, Department heads and members of locally owned independent businesses form a Task Force to identify and develop policies that directly support the growth and development of locally owned and independent businesses in Brookline,
That the Town of Brookline declare an annual “Brookline Local Economy Week” that coincides with “Brookline Day”, and that the Town Administrator, School Department and Town Department Heads confer to promote the steps all can take to contribute to fostering our local economic development during that week.