If you're new to our newsletter, you can see the April issue here or see our index of all recent editions. Ideas and Action from Local Alliances The

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May

If you're new to our newsletter, you can see the April issue here or see our index of all recent editions.

Ideas and Action from Local Alliances

The Importance of Routine Media Coverage
While local groups should not bombard local media with trivial news releases, it's important to build relationships with reporters that can generate coverage even when you lack urgent news. Brief mentions of your organization's ongoing work, like this item on the Belknap (NH) IBA, breed familiarity and trust that will help attract and retain members. Strive to keep your group visible or audible in all local media outlets.

Of course, this applies to individual businesses as well. Familiarity breeds trust that in turn influences consumer decisions (often unconsciously). This is one reason local businesses benefit from their membership in a local IBA and can reap benefit from locals knowing your group's collective brand, even when they are not familiar with a specific business.

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Remote Sales Tax Reform
Members of Stay Local! in New Orleans testified in support of HB 544, a bill to eliminate the sales tax exemption enjoyed by Amazon.com, Inc. in their state. The bill unanimously passed the House Ways and Means Committee on May 23 and soon will go to a full House vote. (Check out Stay Local's events page to get an idea of why they're making a big impact in New Orleans.)

After South Carolina denied a sales tax exemption to Amazon.com (see our April newsletter), critics said the state would be driving business away ("no one will even look at coming here for 10 years…" said one overwrought official). Try 10 days. A plan for a major new facility was promptly unveiled by Amy’s Kitchen, and Michelin announced a $200 million expansion that will add 270 jobs -- without tens of millions in subsidies demanded by Amazon (Walmart also announced plans for several more stores). Despite that, South Carolina apparently has reversed course and will grant Amazon an exemption after the corporation nearly doubled its promised new job count to 2,000, among other commitments.

Tapping Local Creativity
Homegrown El Paso is tapping into local talent by conducting a design contest for their new Go Local t-shirt. The winning design (chosen through public voting on their Facebook page) will win $300. Shop Local Raleigh plans a similar contest.

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Alex (L) and Kelsey (R) with Kota, AMIBA's chief morale officer.

New at AMIBA

AMIBA Welcomes New Interns
The next time you call our office, you might hear a new voice. Kelsey Lindquist is assisting with fundraising to allow us to expand the support we provide local alliances and organizers and the public. Alex Kelsey will be helping both AMIBA and local affiliates enhance their marketing. Both women attend Montana State University here in Bozeman.

May Additions to Member Resources

Links to AMIBA web pages in this section are accessible only to affiliates. You must login before clicking!

The Results of 2010 Survey Are In!
Thanks to Stacy Mitchell of the New Rules Project for executing a survey of all AMIBA affiliates and to all those who responded. The results provide a snapshot of IBA development from start-up into maturity and provides many useful benchmarks to evaluate the progress of your group. The 43 (of 70) current affiliates that completed the survey in April reported 11,755 members among them.

New Affiliate Benefit
A strong email marketing service can help local groups improve the appearance of their communications, make list management easy and yield valuable data on readership and usage. We've been thoroughly impressed by the ease-of-use, features and the customer support of our provider, MadMimi, so we've partnered with them to provide a great deal for AMIBA affiliates: – free email marketing for up to 500 contacts and reduced monthly rates for larger lists. Click here for details.

If you're not an affiliate, it's a great service at their normal rates, too. (If you plan to use MadMimi and would like to help AMIBA at the same time, please contact us.)

New sample advertisements added to the ads collection. We aim to expand this collection dramatically, so we're asking every IBA : please send us your best examples to showcase!

News Briefs

Micro-Breweries Gain Market Share
While growth in overall beer sales in the U.S. was nearly flat from 2009 to 2010, small independent breweries gained 7.6 percent of all U.S. beer sales in 2010, a large increase from their 6.9 percent share in 2009. The overall number of microbreweries is now the greatest since 1900! The Brewers Association has all the details.

Even if you're not a beer aficionado, it's worth toasting the news--microbreweries employ more people than mega-breweries and are far more likely to source ingredients from local farms and businesses.

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Small Business Advocates Urge President to Sign Disclosure Order, Curb Political Influence in Contracting
AMIBA, the Main Street Alliance and the American Sustainable Business Council jointly endorsed a proposed electioneering disclosure requirement for federal contractors while calling for stronger action to help prevent campaign contributions from corrupting procurement. Read more.

Massachusetts Moves Its Money
The state will move much of its cash reserves from large national banks to local community banks with the understanding that these institutions will use the deposits to increase lending to small businesses. See this New Rules project report for more.

National TV Ads for Small Businesses?
Are you a small business with a national customer base? You may never have considered the possibility of running television ads nationally, but it’s now a real possibility. Video explanation here.

More Home Buyers Seeking Walkable Business Districts
A recent survey of agents by real estate firm Coldwell Banker yielded results that should provoke discussion among local and state planners and policy-makers. Agents said 45% of clients are seeking homes closer to shops and services due to higher gas prices as part of increased interest in "urban living."

Check Claims of "Buy Local" Marketers
Unfortunately some companies seeking to market to or through Independent Business Alliances claim connections with AMIBA or our affiliates that are exaggerated or false. If any company pitches your group while claiming a relationship with another IBA or AMIBA and you are considering doing business with them, we advise you to verify an such claims.

New England Localization Advocates Gather June 3
The New England Local Business Forum invites all indie business allies to their regional gathering in Cambridge, MA on June 3. Get the details and RSVP here.

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Discuss localization issues, share ideas, ask questions

Those are some of the purposes of the LinkedIn group for indie business advocates. The most active discussion this week: Should corporations enjoy the same political speech rights as citizens? Visit the group and meet your peers!

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