The 7th annual survey of business owners across the U.S. and Canada offers much good news for independents and again suggests the long-term educational work of Independent Business Alliances / Local First groups is yielding big benefits for their members and local economies.
The survey by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) and Advocates for Independent Business (a coalition comprised of AMIBA, ILSR and 13 other groups) tallied responses from more than 3000 independent businesses. Just under half were retailers while restaurants, service providers and others comprised smaller portions. Among the notable results:
- Independent businesses in communities with an active "buy independent/buy local" campaign run by grassroots groups saw revenues grow 9.3% in 2014, nearly double the 4.9% increase for businesses in areas without such an alliance.
- Retailers surveyed reported a 5.1% increase in same-store sales last year, beating many competing chains, while independent businesses overall reported revenue growth of 8.1% on average.
- Wages paid by respondents equaled or exceeded their chain competitors. 41% of independents' employees make between $10 and $15 hourly, while 34% make $15 or more hourly.
The report also includes respondents' views on a wide range of issues, including their top business challenges, policy concerns and more.
Read or download the full report (14 pp pdf).