Community Partner Spotlight: Louisville Independent Business Alliance
If you have ever been in a locally owned store in Louisville, you know just how enriching they can be for our community. They add color to our surroundings, and fuel a sense of uniqueness among our neighborhoods. It was amazing to learn about an organization that helps keep these businesses thriving. Though it is easy to see local stores all around us, you might not know that there is an organization that supports these businesses and helps educate the community on how important local businesses can be. The Louisville Independent Alliance has made this their mission, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Director, Jennifer Rubenstein, to learn more about their great work.
The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) was started back in 2005 after a beloved local business was bought out by a chain. The founder John Timmins, saw how other communities had rallied behind their local businesses to create a better sense of place. From this sprung the Keep Louisville Weird campaign, that continues to be popular till this day. What had started as a small cohort of business owners has now become a body of almost 900 members.
Some of the things that have made LIBA so successful are their events held annually around the city. One you may have heard of is the Buy Local Fair, held at the Louisville Water Tower Park. There are hundreds of businesses with amazing booths, as well as local food and entertainment to enjoy! The fair has been so successful that there is now a South Points Buy Local Fair that showcases businesses in the South End, and the unique products and wares from the community. LIBA also holds a Local Business Expo. This creates a great place to talk to other business owners, network, and learn from experts about local business. These experts hold “quick learns” throughout the event, providing consultations with personalized insights on your business.
I wanted to know why Jennifer had gotten involved with the organization, and what she liked most about her job. She told me that a friend had originally told her about the group, back when they were still forming, and how small businesses had a big impact within the community.
“I think the thing that stuck with me the most was hearing the statistic that for every $100 spent on a locally owned business, $55 is reinvested into the community, whereas only $14 is reinvested if you were to go to a chain”.
Jennifer found that she loved talking to business owners and entrepreneurs. Their energy and creative spirit was infectious, not to mention their ability to quickly make connections and help others locally.
I asked Jennifer how to get involved with LIBA and the first thing she told me was to buy local! It seems simple, but it can really make a difference within your neighborhood. There are also many opportunities to volunteer at LIBA events, and if you are a local business owner make sure to visit their website at https://www.keeplouisvilleweird.com/ and become a member!