Business alliance asserts its independence listen06/25/08 SeÃ¡n Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
This morning at Hyde Parkâ€™s Mise en Place restaurant, the Tampa Downtown Partnership hosted a panel discussion focusing on the cityâ€™s independent businesses. All four panelists are members of the Tampa Independent Business Alliance (TIBA).
Carla Jimenez owns Inkwood Books and is on the board of TIBA; she is also on the national board of the American Independent Business Alliance. Jimenez said shopping at locally-owned businesses keeps money in the community. â€œWhen you spend a dollar locally, it circulates in the local economy at least three times.â€
But just as important as the economic benefits of buying from local independent businesses, Jimenez said, is how unique businesses enhance the community. â€œItâ€™s the locally-owned independent businesses â€¦ that actually define a community, that define the sense of place.â€
Maryann Ferenc, co-owner of Mise en Place and president of TIBA, said â€œPeople are really searching for a sense of community.â€
The philosophy or feel of shopping at a chain store is different from an independent business, according to Ferenc. â€œChain stores success are built on creating a really great formula and then repeating that formula every day.â€
Jiminez thinks Tampa could benefit from a series of Independent Business Investment Zones, which â€œwould be great for Tampaâ€™s downtown as well as some other neighborhoods in Tampa.â€
Ellen Brown owns the Old Tampa Book Co. downtown and is concerned about vacancies in her area. â€œHow do we get these landlords to stop holding empty buildings waiting to make a lot of money?â€
This Saturday, TIBA businesses will be showcased at Natureâ€™s Harvest Market at 1021 N. MacDill Ave. to kick off Independentâ€™s Week, which runs July 1-7. WMNF is a member of TIBA.
Photo by SeÃ¡n Kinane/WMNF