“Signature” taco walks are nice and all, but here area few random ideas among many that orgs like DNA might embrace to grow downtown every day, not every now and then.


The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) has drawn up a strategic plan. LIBA stages the occasional event, but also pursues programs to enhance indie business prospects on a daily basis.

How LIBA plans to broaden the ‘buy local’ message, by Caitlin Bowling (Insider Louisville)

 … “The ‘buy local’ message isn’t just about buying local, but it’s also about how buying local affects our community overall,” (Jennifer) Rubenstein said.

The key words in the following passage are “community leaders.” Who are they, and are they really?

How Cities Can Save Small Shops
, by Karen Loew (CityLab)

 … Meanwhile, cities around the U.S. and the world are recognizing the value of homegrown retail and are enacting policies to enrich the frequently poor soil where small businesses attempt to grow. That’s because municipal leaders are realizing that the basis of any community is its sense of place—its singular look and feel, roots and aspirations—and local retail is essential to expressing that. Shops are part of culture—in addition, of course, to being the places where you can fix a shoe, find a dress, buy a coffee, and chit-chat …

… This is the moment for mom-and-pop shops to assert their value proposition, says Olivia LaVecchia, a research associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Washington, D.C. “There’s really a failure to recognize what a powerhouse small businesses are,” says LaVecchia, citing their interdependency with other desirable local outcomes, such as maintenance of affordable housing and jobs.

A recent report from ILSR advocates six policy approaches that any locality can apply. These ideas lend themselves to being customized …

The six points are summarized below, and it can be readily seen how an activist City Hall working with local independent businesses might devise and implement a customized program of work.

Of course, such a program by necessity would have to be designed to assist businesses first, and City Hall’s re-election prospects later — and both City Hall and an organization like DNA would have to be committed to daily results and not periodic event planning.

Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

1. Broaden Ownership
2. Reduce the Power Imbalance in Landlord-Tenant Negotiations
3. Zone for a Local Business Environment
4. Set Aside Space for Local Businesses in New Development
5. Create a Preference for Local Businesses in Publicly Owned Buildings
6. Recognize Businesses as Cultural Landmarks

When it comes to owning an independent local business in an economy designed and subsidized to exalt big business over small, it simply has to be about every day, not every now and then.