CEO Message Graphic - Horizontal

As we embrace the month of July, we are proud to celebrate National Independent Retailer Month, a time dedicated to honoring the independent retailers that serve as the backbone of our local economies. These businesses are more than just shops; they are vital community hubs, unique shopping destinations, and significant contributors to our nation’s economic health.

The Impact of Independent Retailers

Independent retailers play a crucial role in fostering economic growth and creating vibrant, diverse communities. Here are some compelling statistics that highlight the importance of these businesses:

  • Economic Contribution: Independent retailers generate more than $1 trillion in revenue annually. This substantial contribution underscores their role in driving economic growth and stability.
  • Job Creation: These businesses are significant job creators, employing over 8.5 million people across the country. For every $10 million in sales, independent retailers create an average of 57 jobs, compared to just 14 jobs created by large chains.
  • Community Investment: Independent retailers are known for reinvesting in their communities. On average, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays within the local economy, compared to $43 when spent at a national chain.
  • Customer Service and Innovation: Independent retailers are often recognized for their personalized customer service and innovative approaches. A survey found that 83% of consumers believe independent retailers provide better customer service than larger chains, and 61% feel these businesses are more likely to offer unique products.

The Challenges Faced

Despite their significant contributions, independent retailers face numerous challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact, with many businesses struggling to stay afloat. According to a recent survey, 63% of independent retailers reported a decline in revenue in 2020, and 25% feared permanent closure without additional support.

Moreover, the rise of e-commerce giants has created a fiercely competitive landscape. Independent retailers often lack the resources to compete with the pricing and convenience offered by large online platforms.

Supporting Independent Retailers

As we celebrate National Independent Retailer Month, it’s essential to consider how we can support these businesses. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  1. Shop Local: Whenever possible, choose to shop at independent retailers. Your support helps these businesses thrive and contributes to the local economy.
  2. Spread the Word: Use social media to highlight your favorite local shops. Word-of-mouth recommendations can drive new customers to these businesses.
  3. Participate in Events: Many communities host events to support local businesses. Participating in these events helps raise awareness and encourages others to shop locally.
  4. Advocate for Policy Support: Support policies and initiatives that provide financial assistance, reduce regulatory burdens, and offer resources to help independent retailers compete in the digital age.

Looking Ahead

At the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), we are committed to supporting independent retailers through advocacy, resources, and programs designed to foster their growth and sustainability. We believe that by empowering these businesses, we can build stronger, more resilient communities.

As we navigate through these challenging times, let us remember the importance of independent retailers and the unique value they bring to our lives. This July, I encourage you to join us in celebrating National Independent Retailer Month by supporting and uplifting the independent retailers in your community.

Together, we can ensure that these businesses continue to thrive and enrich our communities for years to come.

Warm regards,

Natalie Madeira Cofield Signature

Natalie Madeira Cofield
President & CEO
Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO)

Natalie Madeira Cofield Pic

Natalie Madeira Cofield is the President & CEO of AEO, the voice of innovation in micro-and-small business in the United States. AEO and its nearly 3,000 members have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families, and their communities.