Mayor Paul Esser joined Dane Buy Local Executive Director Colin Murray and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, along with other local business leaders, to kick off Independents Week on June 21 at Beans ’n Cream Bakehouse, located at 1120 W. Main St. in Sun Prairie.
In conjunction with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), Dane Buy Local members are encouraging the public to “buy local” and declare June 21 – July 4, 2019 Independents Week.
Acting as master of ceremonies, Murray also pointed out this year marks the 15th anniversary of Dane Buy Local, which creates a sustainable, vital local economy through education, collaboration, and promotion, as a non-profit member organization.
Dane Buy Local is affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and is part of a national movement of communities rallying to support their independent businesses and ensuring the opportunity to operate an independent business endures.
“Independents Week nationwide is to celebrate and to see some of the local businesses that are doing great things in the community,” Murray said. “There are many to take note of and we appreciate their support. And it’s highlighting those small businesses we have here in southcentral Wisconsin. That’s what makes us unique — it makes us different than anywhere else in the country — those local businesses.”
Local businesses reflect the depth, diversity and economic impact on the local economy, according to Murray.
“More than ever, it’s important to support local businesses,” Murray said.
Amazon and online sales are taking “a huge bite on local businesses — I hear it all the time,” Murray said. “They’re trying to figure out how to pour coffee through the internet — I’m sure. Amazon is looking at all these different ways to try to take business away from these local businesses. So that’s why it’s important for local businesses to support each other, and for the community in general to support local businesses.”
In addition to a business expo scheduled for June 25 in Madison, Independents Week also features a Passport that includes eight different areas — including Sun Prairie — where patrons will get a reward just for walking in the door with the passport. “If you go to all 49 locations throughout the county, you’ll get $300 worth of value,” Murray said.
Several Waunakee businesses are participating in the passport, including Kee-Kee Boutique, Qual Line Fence, Wisconsin Candle Company, Jenerate Wellness, Waunakee Furniture ETC and the Waunakee Chamber of Commerce.
The Independents Week Passport is available for $5, includes giveaways at the businesses listed, and is valid through July 4. For more information about the passport and where it can be purchased, check out www.danebuylocal.com.
Parisi, who pointed out Dane County was the first local unit of government in the country to join a group like Dane Buy Local, said the county believes strongly in supporting local businesses.
“If you look at the business we’re in today,” Parisi said, gesturing around the Bakehouse, “you won’t find this in chains — the type of community involvement that we do, and the kind of skin in the game that local business owners have.
“We’re really excited and proud to continue to do what we can to showcase our local businesses,” Parisi said. “When we look at a community like Sun Prairie — which is one of, if not the, fastest growing communities in the state right now — it’s so important that local businesses be in the mix as this community grows and develops, so that it can remain the community that it is.”
As a contrast, Parisi said his in-laws were from the suburbs of Chicago, and driving between them, there was virtually no difference between them.
“We have the ability to avoid that type of thing right here in Dane County, and they’re doing a great job of it in Sun Prairie and elsewhere,” Parisi said. “But this can only happen if we support our local businesses and realize how important they are to our community and how much more rich the experience is when you’re patronizing local businesses.”
City of Madison Office of Business Resources Manager Dan Kennelly said that Dane County has about 12,000 businesses, and of those, 75 percent of them have fewer than 20 employees, and 88 percent have fewer than 100 employees.
“So we are fortunate here in Dane County and Southcentral Wisconsin to have a lot of great large employers,” Kennelly said, adding that many of them are adding employees. “But I think it’s worth noting that almost 90 percent of all the businesses in the county have less than 100 employees. And if you look at the employment growth in that sector, those businesses . . . since 2010 have been adding 1,000 new jobs a year.
To wrap up the event, Parisi randomly selected customers at Beans ’n Cream Bakehouse to receive $10 bills donated by Summit Credit Union
For more information about Independents Week, log on to www.danebuylocal.com.