A Local Legacy

For more than a decade, IWS aimed to educate consumers about the importance and strong economic benefits of buying local and encouraging small business owners to tout their locally owned status.

“We help small business owners let their communities know that small businesses are here to stay and they need community support now more than ever,” says Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “It’s up to everyone to do their part to help ensure these businesses survive. Our resources help them to make their presence known, keeping them in the fight.”

First launched to the public in January 2011, founding sponsor STIHL Inc. and its more than 10,000 authorized STIHL Dealers, the vast majority of which are independent retailers, inspired the movement. IWS has provided support to independent retailers — from flower, candy and coffee shops to hardware stores and breweries — through numerous initiatives:

  • IWS has traveled more than 15,000 miles from coast to coast to rally small locally owned businesses and their communities during annual road trips, including the Great American Route 66 Road Trip and Main Streets Make Us Better Road Trip.
  • IWS has shared hundreds of presentations, webinars, videos and more to help independent locally owned businesses build their local brands and tap into America’s growing desire to buy local. A recent survey by OnePoll shows 86% of Americans are going out of their way to support small businesses during the pandemic.
  • IWS “buy local” marketing materials have been downloaded more than 100,000 times by tens of thousands of small local businesses across the United States and countries spanning from Canada to Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
  • IWS conducted studies showing the economic impact of consumers buying local versus spending their hard-earned dollars at big box stores and massive online retailers, yielding the following findings:
    • Purchasing home building supplies and products from locally owned retailers keeps more than twice as much of that money in the local economy as identical purchases made at big box chain stores — Home Sweet Home Pros’ (2017)
    • Sales through local hardware and paint dealers have a local impact nearly seven times greater (676 percent) than sales through Amazon, even when including all of Amazon’s distribution employment — Home Sweet Home: Locals vs. Amazon (2018)
  • IWS has been featured in thousands of media outlets across the country, including Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, MSNBC, The New York Times and more.

A selection of blogs from Independent We Stand

Why Bank Local?

Community banks are often overlooked in favor of larger national banks, but there are many reasons why people should consider supporting their local community banks. Community banks are financial institutions that are locally owned and operated, and they are...

Why Customers Want to Shop Small Year-Round

The Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the way Americans prepare for everything—from the summer travel season to the back-to-school season and even the fall sports season—and small businesses are feeling the strain. But even in a pandemic, consumers want to shop...

5 Ways Local Businesses Can Attract Top Employees

When you're the owner of a local small business, the idea of hiring employees is likely an even mix of excitement and anxiety. The employees you hire represent the face of your business, and when you're a small business one bad employee can seriously impact your...

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