Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Buy Local" Boosted Holiday Sales at Indy Retailers

I'm a BIG fan of buying local through independent retailers. I'm glad to see it's gaining some momentum!

"Buy Local" Boosted Holiday Sales at Indy Retailers"

By Staff -- Gifts & Decorative Accessories, 1/23/2008 2:10:00 PM

Minneapolis, MN — Independent retailers in cities with “Buy Local” campaigns saw a holiday sales increase four times larger than those in cities without one, a nationwide survey of 1,382 independent retailers found. As major chains report weak holiday sales, a desire to support locally owned businesses is emerging as a factor in people's shopping choices. The survey, which included retailers in all 50 states and Washington, DC, found that, even in a difficult economic climate, many independent retailers are holding their own and even seeing sales gains by emphasizing their local ownership and community roots.

In the last few years, "Buy Local" campaigns have been launched by local business alliances in more than three dozen communities. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average gain in sales of about 2 percent over the 2006 holiday season, while those in cities without "Buy Local" campaigns saw an increase of less than 0.5 percent.

"People made a special effort to shop locally and were vocal about their support," one retailer commented. Another reported: "Our customers are responding to hearing this message both locally and nationally."

Eighty-two percent of the retailers surveyed said that the fact that their business is locally owned and independent matters to their customers.

The survey was undertaken by the Independent Business Forum, a newly formed network of trade associations and other organizations that represent independent businesses. Participants in the forum are working together on issues of common concern to their members. The gift industry’s own Gift and Home Trade Association is one of the participants.

"It's heartening to see that so many consumers understand the important role independent retailers play in their communities — and that they are increasingly choosing to 'shop local.' Study after study has made clear that locally owned businesses have a far greater positive economic impact on their communities, contribute more to local charities, and are largely responsible for our towns and cities retaining their unique characteristics," said Oren J. Teicher, COO of the American Booksellers Association.

"Independent retailers are especially susceptible to a sluggish economy, so it is gratifying to learn that consumers are conscious that where they shop matters a great deal to their community," said Kathleen McHugh, executive director of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association.

"We're seeing the beginnings of a shift in people's shopping choices, particularly in places where 'buy local' campaigns have brought this to the forefront of public consciousness. 'Locally owned' is following in the footsteps of 'organic' as people look for ways to support a more sustainable economy and revitalize their communities," said Stacy Mitchell, author of Big-Box Swindle and senior researcher for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, which administered the survey.

The Independent Business Forum plans to repeat the survey next year. The group is also collaborating on initiatives to increase public awareness of the value of locally owned businesses and to address public policy issues that affect independent businesses.

"We continue to see the power independent businesses and communities gain through local Independent Business Alliances, so it makes sense for advocates of independent businesses to organize and build on that success nationally," said Jennifer Rockne, executive director of the American Independent Business Alliance, which helped to convene the Independent Business Forum.

"NARDA is looking forward to being able to help our members as a result of information exchange with other associations that serve independent retailers. This survey is very timely in light of what we see as a challenging economic environment in 2008," said Tom Drake, president and CEO of the North American Retailer Dealers Association.

For more on Buy Local campaigns and local business alliances, see Home Field Advantage.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In the Market for Shoes?

This offer is too good to pass up if you like shopping online for shoes:

"Limited Time Offer: Better than FREE Overnight Shipping!
Promotion extended! For a limited time, Overnight Shipping is *negative* $5. That's right, we'll take five dollars off your order for the privilege of shipping overnight to you. We are serious. Enjoy this special promotion while it lasts! Once the promotion is over, you can again enjoy our day-in and day-out offer of FREE Overnight Shipping."

Endless is an brand I believe - which makes me pretty confident in shopping there. I've never had any trouble with Amazon and they have GREAT customer service! The email that I received in my inbox with info about this promotion even offers FREE RETURN SHIPPING so shop happy :-)

I really love these daniblack red polkadot heels... at $117 though I'll wait for the sale. But wouldn't they be CUTE for Valentine's Day?
Another cute feature on the site is that when you roll your mouse over the pictures (and there are LOTS of angles of each item) it enlarges it for extra detail!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Whole Foods to Stop Using Plastic Bags

While maybe not CLOSET related... this is definitely PANTRY related! I always try and recycle these awful things but it's getting harder to find grocery stores around here with collection containers! (Hint: Harris Teeter... HWY 401 S. and Ten-Ten.)

Way to go Whole Foods :-) I need to invest in some nice cloth bags.

This was posted on Triangle Biz Journal's daily e-news.
"Whole Foods Market Inc. will gradually phase out the use of plastic grocery bags in its 270 stores with the goal of no longer using them by April 22, which is Earth Day.

The Austin, Texas-based grocery chain, which has four Triangle locations, said it will encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags and will offer 100 percent recycled paper grocery bags when needed.

'More and more cities and countries are beginning to place serious restrictions on single-use plastic shopping bags since they don't break down in our landfills, can harm nature by clogging waterways and endangering wildlife, and litter our roadsides,' A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market, said in a statement.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Event of the Year: Uniquities Attic Sale!

This is my FAVORITE shopping event of the year - the Uniquities Attic Sale! Ashley (Black) Currin and I joined in this ridiculous spectacle of designer clothing at amazing prices back in my sophomore year of college (I think it was my sophomore year...). Even if you're not really looking for anything in particular, I recommend you check out the line down Franklin Street in Chapel Hill yourself at least once in life... and score yourself a pair of James jeans for half off!

My favorite part of this is - and I can't guarantee they are doing it again this year, but... - the Raleigh store in Cameron Village always seems to have their basement sale just the next weekend after this big sale which is not as busy or overshopped! Katie and I went last year and stocked up on jeans and I scored two (count 'em 1, 2) Theory jackets for under $500 (a major steal since the value was probably around $1000-$1200 for both at full retail). If I get another email from Uniquities about Cameron Village it'll definitely be posted here :-)

PS - Don't take your boy-toy with you to Chapel Hill, it's an open dressing room in the store so no men are allowed inside for this day only!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bummed I Missed These...

I can't say for sure if I would have added something like this to my cap at graduation, but hey... I did graduate from the College of Textiles... they probably would've enjoyed it! (It would have probably been a Pi Phi one.

Grad Cap Designs

These are covers that slip on your grad cap. Available in lots of fun Hawaii-style floral prints, bold stripes, custom (ie: sorority colors with letter and your name, etc.) and more. Schools can even get their colors and logos for group orders.

The best part about it? They're only $13! Fun stuff. (Thank you Product Wire email... I wish I owned a boutique gift shop in Cameron Village!)