Independent business leaders kick off Buy Local/Buy Smart campaign

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December 2, 2011
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The Twin Cities Metro Independent Business Alliance (MetroIBA) has kicked off a new shop local campaign for the holiday season called “Buy Local/Buy Smart.”

The organization has also launched a new website — — and a holiday gift guide showcasing products from its member businesses.

Roxy Freese, owner of The Bibelot Shops, kicked off the campaign Nov. 21 at her Northeast store. She opened her first Bibelot in St. Anthony Park 45 years ago and now has four locations.

“The dollars [shoppers] spend reflect their own personal values,” she said.

Congressman Keith Ellison, state Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-59B), City Council Member Diane Hofstede (3rd Ward) and Cathy Polasky, the city’s economic development director, also spoke of the importance of investing in locally owned businesses to keep Minneapolis a vibrant place to work and live at the Nov. 21 campaign kickoff event.

MetroIBA cites figures on its website suggesting that for every $1 spent at local retailers, 68 cents gets recirculated into the economy. Meanwhile, for every $1 spent at a national chain store, about 43 cents stays in the local economy.

Polasky noted that many independent businesses are strong supporters of nonprofits in the area. “My message to the community is that you can help turn a community around by buying local,” she said.

Bibelot, for instance, donates to the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation, Open Arms of Minnesota and the MnFoodShare March Campaign.

Many area retailers are reporting an uptick in spending, including Bibelot. November sales were up between 8 and 10 percent in the stores compared to 2010, Freese said.

Like many other small retailers, Black Friday isn’t a boon for business at Bibelot. Freese has labeled the day “Plaid Friday.” Instead, the Saturday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been a better sales day. Nov. 26 was the second annual Small Business Saturday event.

As for a sales strategy for the holiday season, Freese said Bibelot is sticking with the same approach that has worked for the company for years. “Terrific merchandise and excellent customer service,” she said.


- To learn more about MetroIBA’s “Buy Local/Buy Smart” campaign, go to

- Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is also collecting tips for shoppers interested in supporting local retailers this holiday season with the Twitter hashtag #rtlocallist  

- Do you plan to shop local this holiday season? If so, what are your favorite stores? Tweet us @thejournalmpls