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    When the city of Louisville entered into a partnership with the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) last spring, the hope for both parties was to encourage and foster a plan for growth of independent businesses to the area “for the community and for the economy,” said LIBA director, Jennifer Rubenstien. 

    The LIBA has sponsored a community survey as part of the ongoing campaign to keep south Louisville weird.  The survey closes Friday, January 31st and asks citizens what they category of independent businesses they would like to see more of in South Louisville, among a few other questions. 

    “Our hope for the outcome of the survey is to find out which independent businesses—and what types of businesses—south end residents want to see in their community,” said Summer Auerbach, LIBA President. 

    The “Keep South Louisville Weird” campaign is driven by the community, for the community.  The LIBA hopes to create “Stability and growth of current independent businesses in South Louisville,” foster the “start of new independent businesses in South Louisville,” and see the “expansion of current independent businesses from other areas of town into South Louisville,” says Rubenstein. 

    “Locally owned businesses create a sense of place and make up the character of a city,” said Auerbach.  Not only do local businesses add to the personality of the city, the numbers tell the benefit for the local economy. 

    Last year nearly four times more money is recirculated locally when a dollar is spent at a local chain compared to a national chain, according to a study conducted by the LIBA of Louisville businesses.  If a market change of merely 10 percent from chains to independents, an additional $416 million would flow into the regional economy every year, assuming the survey offers a representative sample of independent businesses in the area. 

    “Concentrated areas of independent businesses have higher home values and voter participation,” said Rubenstein.  The benefits of local businesses are also seen in breakdown of where local money goes, $55 of every $100 in local businesses versus $14 of every $100 for national chains, according to Rubenstein. 

    When the city’s partnership with the LIBA was announced last year to keep south Louisville weird, Mayor Gregg Fischer said, “Our community is successful only when every part of our community is successful.”  

    Through this partnership, the LIBA also sponsors “education about why locally owned, independent businesses are better for the social and economic fabric of our city,” said Auerbach.  In addition to educating local citizens about why their dollar is important for every fabric of the local scene, the LIBA “educate businesses about what expansion opportunities could be available in South Louisville,” said Auerbach. 

    Rubenstein calls Louisville, “A big small town with lots of character.” With the Keep South Louisville Weird survey, citizens have the opportunity to be heard on what businesses they would like to see in the weird, unique, growing local scene of south Louisville.  

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