Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Independents Week Starts Today!

And you're saying to yourself a) What the heck is independents week and why haven't I heard of it? or hopefully b) How can I help?

First I'll start with "A" for some backstory... Independent businesses caught on that they were being edged out about the time it was too late. Right after I walked out of Wal-mart and wondered, what used to be here? Wasn't there an office supply store and a bike shop and a garden supply in my town? The businesses that weren't obliterated in the first few years and those crazy enough to start new one's like us, started getting together. Independent Business Associations started to crop up with one of the most popular coming out of Austin, Texas. Anybody heard of "Keep Austin Weird"? That's the kind of slogan that Target and Best Buy just can't help with. So anyway, to get the word out, these business groups needed a rallying week and when better than the heat of summer? July 4th - Independents Day was born! Unless we want chain stores from sea to shining sea then we'd better get out and support these guys!

So then question B) How can I help?

TIBA - The Tampa Independent Business Association is running a promotion with the help of Creative Loafing that involves getting stamps on a "passport" this month. If you get the most, then you are entered in a drawing for $500 in gift certificates. One of those will be from Tampa Street Market, so make sure you get this done! Find the "Passport to Indies" in this issue of Creative Loafing.

If that is a little too much structure for your independent self, then just get out and support your favorite indies! Eat at Nicko's, Cappy's, Bungalow Bistro, Taconazo, and Grassroots. Get down to Vinyl Fever and buy Wilco's new album. Head over to Inkwood Books and get an autograph from Carl Hiaasen. Get over to the Old Tampa Book Company and pick out a classic. Get out to Skipper's Smokehouse and catch a band and some fish dip. Or try to do three - at the same time - go to New World Brewery, drink an indie brew, and listen to a local band - all in one night! This is what makes a town worth living in folks! Remember the hardware store that burned down in the Heights last year? Those are the places that make a neighborhood...

Here's the link to get your passport - Don't wait, my little brother started on Saturday!


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