July is National Independent Retailer Month – a month when we recognize the contributions that independent retailers make to their communities.

Independent retailers own every piece of their businesses. They’re responsible for success and make the tough decisions to keep it running daily. National Independent Retailer Month highlights these businesses and celebrates their accomplishments.

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In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know about this month, including what it is and how your business can benefit from it this year.

What is National Independent Retailer Month?

National Independent Retailer Month celebrates business owners who are completely responsible for their companies. These individuals have built their businesses from the ground up, and this month recognizes their success and contributions to their community.

National Independent Retailer Month is held in July each year. Here’s a quick video that explains more about it.

Why do we celebrate it?

National Independent Retailer Month dates back to 2003 when Tom Shay founded “Independent Retailer Week” to educate small business owners about the importance of community engagement.

Years later, Kerry Bannigan launched a similar event for businesses on the East Coast. Then, in 2011, Shay and Bannigan joined forces to create “National Independent Retailer Month,” which celebrated independent retailers worldwide.

independent retailer month timeline

But why are independent retailers important? Can’t you get the same stuff from a big-box brand?

Why Independent Retailers Are Important

Independent retailers are crucial to the economy. From 1995 to 2021, these businesses created nearly two-thirds of all new jobs in the U.S. And, people want to work for local retailers because they often create better opportunities than chains or big-box brands.

Independent retailers are also great for local economies. Several studies have found that these businesses return much more money to their communities than chain brands. Rather than a corporation taking profits and spending them elsewhere, local businesses spend revenue in their area — on labor, resources, and charity.

independent retailer stats


How to Participate in National Independent Retailer Month

Here’s how your business can celebrate National Independent Retailer Month this year.

1. Share your story on social media.

Social media is one of the best ways to let people know you are an independent retailer. You can share how you became a business owner and your journey to where you are today.

Here’s a great example from @smallbizmajority on Instagram:

independent retailer being featured on instagram

If you’re unsure about sharing your own story, you can also talk about how vital independent retailers are to their community. Here’s a list of facts you can share about independent retailers:

  • Small retail stores have grown over the last five years and will continue growing through 2029. (IBIS World)
  • Small businesses created two-thirds of new jobs created in the U.S. between 1995 and 2021. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
  • For every $10 million in sales, independent retailers create 57 jobs, whereas big box brands create only 14. (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)
  • There are over 33 million small businesses in the U.S. That represents about 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. (US Chamber of Commerce)
  • 53% of revenue generated by local businesses gets recirculated to local economies. Chain stores only return about 14%. (Civic Economics)

Pro Tip: Use #IndependentRetailerMonth to expand your reach on sites like Instagram and X (Twitter).

2. Take advantage of free marketing resources.

If you’re looking for additional marketing resources, IndependentRetailerMonth.com has some excellent content you can download, like posters, certificates, postcards, and more.

independent retailer month poster

You can share a poster like this on social media or hang it in your store.

3. Attend or host a trade show with other businesses.

Trade shows are great for independent retailers because they promote your brand in front of a community ready to buy something. And, since it’s July, small business owners can attend plenty of fairs and festivals. Your local county or state fair is a great place to start, or you could host an event and invite other retailers to attend.

Pro Tip: You can find trade shows near you by Googling “Trade Shows in July.”

trade shows for independent retailers

4. Ask for local news coverage.

News teams are always looking for local businesses to spotlight, but it depends on the pitch that you give them. While they’re not giving away free ad time, they are looking for interesting stories in the area. If your business has something cool to share or a new event you’re hosting, reach out to your local news station, and you might end up on TV.

Former TV producer Stephaine Love shares advice on how you can get your business featured in a local news spot:

5. Update your branding.

People take pride in shopping locally. In fact, 57% of Americans will pay more to shop at a local business than a big-box brand.

Lean into this trend. Update your website so people know you’re an independent retailer. Slogans like “shop local” and “made locally” make it clear that you’re an active player in your community.

Some folks may not know it’s National Independent Retailer Month, so you may have to say or do something to remind them. That’s where your marketing efforts could be the extra nudge that helps you close a deal.

Celebrating Your Success as an Independent Retailer

Independent retailers are doing impactful work. They’re brave enough to own a business and be responsible for its success. Their contributions to the economy are invaluable, so they should be recognized – especially National Independent Retailer Month.

If you’re an independent retailer, take advantage of the marketing strategies in this post and generate more sales for your business this July.

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