We are all about the small businesses during Independent Retailer Month, which is celebrated throughout July. This month is dedicated to the social and economic boosters of the society that promote sustainable living in our cities and towns. We are talking about none other than our friendly neighborhood corner shops, and all-around independent retailers!
History of Independent Retailer Month
Small businesses can be considered as one of the backbones of not only America’s economy, but the world economy at large, and according to Census Bureau and Small Business Administration, approximately 51% of the US workforce is employed by independent retailers.
We can trace the roots of small businesses back to the invention of the first currency in Ancient Greece. In that era, there would be markets in the city center where different merchants would be able to set up shops and display their products.
Modern independent retailers began with mom-and-pop stores in the 1700s. This was a slang term for family-owned businesses that were run in-house, small and independent. These stores were popular within that era and were mostly drug and general stores.
These stores laid the foundation for the establishment of departmental stores in the 19th century, shopping malls in the mid-20th century, and eventually big box stores in the late 20th century. The first of which was Walmart, established in Rogers, Arkansas.
Big box stores and e-commerce have now gained so much popularity that people tend to forget the importance of independent retailers that laid the initial groundwork. This is unfortunate as these stores often supply products and services that cannot commonly be found in big box stores. Crafts, customized products, special gifts, and souvenirs are some of the few examples attesting to this fact.
The principal of Profits Plus, Tom Shay, created National Independent Retailer Week which became the platform for this month-long celebration. Years after, Kerry Bannigan, co-founder of Nolcha, created a similar holiday, Independent Retail Week. The two came together shortly after to create Independent Retailer Month U.S.A., which was eventually expanded to the United Kingdom by Clare Rayner.
Independent Retailer Month timeline
Establishing family-owned businesses becomes popular across America.
Tom Shay establishes National Independent Retailer Week for retailers to create a celebration for their businesses and communities.
Kerry Bannigan creates Independent Retail Week in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New Jersey.
Tom Shay and Kerry Bannigan come together to create Independent Retailer Month in July, and Retail Champion Clare Rayner expands it to the United Kingdom.
Independent Retailer Month FAQs
Is there still an Independent Retailer Week?
After Tom Shay and Kerry Bannigan joined their efforts to create this month-long event in 2011, the smaller holidays, National Independent Retailer Week and Independent Retailer Week were scrapped to leave room for one major celebration — Independent Retailer Month.
What is Indie Retail?
‘Indie retail’ is simply a slang term for Independent retail; meaning both terms hold the same definition, representing all small, independently-owned businesses.
Why is Clare Rayner known as the retail champion
Clare Bailey, formerly known as Clare Rayner is one of the major contributors to the popularity of Independent Retailer Month and is one of the most respected retail experts in the U.K. She is also fondly known as the ‘Walking Encyclopedia of Retail’ and is the author of the bestselling book, “The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success.”
How to Observe Independent Retailer Month
Of course, the best way to observe the month dedicated to independent retailers is by shopping all things local! Make it a priority to shop from your local stores and businesses throughout this month, and shop less or not at all from the big box stores. Celebrate your corner stores and farmers' markets by patronizing them all through July.
Promote independent retail
Another great way to show your support is by promoting the local stores around you. Shine a spotlight on your favorite local store by shopping and sharing your purchase on social media using the hashtag #IndependentRetailerMonth, and also tagging the store if they have an account. If you own a small business yourself, give yourself some much-deserved limelight by promoting your business and the shop local concept all through the month.
Patronize a trusted local online business
Independent retailers are not only limited to the physical stores in our communities but also those online. A lot of businesses start online before owning a physical store, and they should not be left out because they are still small independently-owned businesses. Find out local businesses in your community with online stores and shop from them within this month. Make sure you do your research to be sure they are legitimate and will deliver before making a purchase.
5 Facts About Small Businesses
They are more than you can imagine
Small businesses make up 99% of all U.S. businesses, with over 32 million small businesses in America.
It doesn’t take that long to start
In the U.S., it would take you roughly six days to get your small business certified and up and running.
It doesn’t take a village
70% of small businesses are owned and managed by a single person.
They don’t all last
Approximately 50% of small businesses pass the five-year mark, and 70% of them hit the two-year mark.
2009 was a rocky year
In 2009, a small business filed for bankruptcy every eight minutes.
Why Independent Retailer Month is Important
Everything starts small
In a world full of big-box brands and fast-moving chains, a month like this reminds us that all big things start small. It’s a time to give well-deserved limelight to the small businesses around us that are often overshadowed by bigger brands.
It supports local businesses
Local, independent businesses need all the help and support they can get. Being independent means that these businesses are often run out of pockets and by sole proprietors or families or partners, and a majority of them eventually get closed down. This month creates an opportunity for us to shop locally and support the smaller businesses in our community.
It encourages dreams
Every small, independently-owned business starts as a dream of its owner. This month encourages those dreams that have now been fleshed out into businesses and gives room for the owners of these businesses to dream even bigger.
Independent Retailer Month dates