As ABA president Steve Bercu, co-owner of BookPeople in Austin, Tex., pointed out in this month’s letter to members in Bookselling This Week, active Local First organizations made a big difference in foot traffic and sales during the holidays and throughout the year. Citing the results of Stacy Mitchell’s “2014 Independent Business Survey” from Advocates for Independent Businesses and the Institute for Self-Reliance, he noted that independent businesses in cities with active Local First campaigns had sales growth of 7% on average for 2013 compared to 2.3% for independent businesses in places without such initiatives.
The survey, which was conducted in January, also showed that the share of businesses that posted revenue growth in 2013 was higher in Local First cities (67%) than in places without a campaign (55%). “It is definitely worth the effort to work with your fellow indies to educate your community about the value of shopping at locally owned businesses,” Bercu concluded. “Of course, it is also clear that independent booksellers are thriving across the country. We continue to grow, create innovative programming, serve our communities, and be the best place for readers to discover books.”