- Bruce Elliott
- Melissa Marts, secretary of the Pikes Peak Independent Business Alliance and co-owner of the Tejon Street Market.
Old-timers remember former Gov. Roy Romer's mantra: Always Buy Colorado.
This year a group began organizing locally to bring the same message home to Colorado Springs.
- Bruce Elliott
- Andy Gipe, president of the Pikes Peak Independent Business Alliance and manager at Compleat Games and Hobbies.
The Pikes Peak Independent Business Alliance began campaigning in July to support local businesses, fair wages and environmentally sustainable agriculture.
Now 37 members strong, the goal, said alliance president Andy Gipe, is to keep shoppers' money in the Springs. Locally owned independent businesses keep as much as three times more revenue in the community, he said, compared to nonlocal chains that pay taxes elsewhere, based on economic studies conducted in Maine, Texas and New Mexico.
Ironically, the organization formed just after one of Colorado Springs most beloved independent businesses, The Chinook bookshop, closed its doors -- partly a victim of lost sales to big-box book retailers and Internet booksellers.
Among the group's original members are Compleat Games and Hobbies -- where Gipe is a manager -- Primed Plus PC and Sencha restaurant. The alliance held an inaugural "unchained day" on Nov. 20, urging city residents to spend the day shopping only at locally owned businesses. The event was a modest success, Gipe said, and he hopes the movement will grow. The Pikes Peak chapter is part of a larger coalition called the American Independent Business Alliance, which has member organizations nationwide, including in Denver and Boulder. The local group's Web site is www.ppiba.org.
"By foot I can reach a lot of independent businesses," Gipe said, referring to downtown. He wants to see not only those businesses thrive, but also independently owned businesses all over the Pikes Peak region.