The Front Royal Independent Business Alliance recently presented:

Strength in Numbers

How Warren County can help independent businesses thrive, strengthen our local economy and maintain a vital, sustainable community

strength in numbers

Held at the Warren County Community Center on May 1st, AMIBA’S Strength in Numbers training combined a presentation and workshop that provided participants an up-close look at how an Independent Business Alliance functions and the lessons they've learned through their experience of helping more than 80 organizations through the organizing process. The comprehensive workshop is invaluable in jumpstarting a new local alliance with focus on building a culture of support for entrepreneurism, local branding, organization, funding, and much more. They will include plenty of discussion time and work with us to achieve concrete progress in building the foundation for our work.

The opening presentation detailed the economic, civic, environmental and other benefits of independent, community based business and some of the hidden costs accompanying reliance on absentee businesses or chain proliferation. Their slideshow provided visual examples from successful campaigns in numerous communities to illustrate Buy Local campaigns, programs to nurture local entrepreneurs, policy initiatives and more.

Topics Included: 

  • Building a culture of support for doing business locally
  • Policy Matters. Local and regional policy can place a key role in 
  • helping or harming local business
  • How to organize for success
  • Member recruitment and retention
  • Engaging your local government
  • Identifying and engaging in local issues to build your organization 

Speaker: Jeff Milchen, AMIBA Co-director and Co-founder

MilchenJeff has spent 15 years helping communities build vital local economies and enhancing economic opportunity through supporting local independent businesses. Milchen co-founded the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), which helps communities to launch and successfully operate Independent Business Alliances. These Alliances work to strengthen and sustain community-based businesses while promoting citizen empowerment over community development.

Milchen pioneered this organizing model, directing the Boulder IBA in CO, starting in 1998. Since 2001, AMIBA has helped more than 80 of these Alliances form in a diverse range of communities across the U.S. and Canada. AMIBA already has inspired similar organizations and influenced countless others in the growing Localization Movement.

Milchen's prior work includes successfully operating his own start-up businesses in Vermont and serving as the director of Reclaim Democracy! His commentaries and articles have appeared in dozens of publications including The Chicago Tribune, Business Week, The Ecologist, Adbusters, and Inc. Magazine. Milchen is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains surrounding Bozeman, MT. 

Many thanks to:

Weathervane Graphics, LLC
The Apple House Restaurant & Catering
Woodward House on Manor Grade
The American Independent Business Alliance

And especially to American Express OPEN for making this event possible.