efairnessnow-2Advocates for Independent Business (AIB) is a coalition of trade associations and allied organizations that represent locally owned, independent businesses serving a consumer market.  AIB’s members collectively represent tens of thousands of small businesses.

AIB enables its member groups to deliver more value to their members by advocating together for public policies that will create a level playing field for independent businesses; raising the visibility of independent businesses; educating the public and elected leaders; and providing a forum for member associations to share information and ideas.

AIB has its roots in a summit organized by the American Booksellers Association in 2011. The day-long meeting drew over 50 people from dozens of trade associations representing a broad range of independent businesses. Recognizing the significant opportunity represented by that gathering and value of ongoing collaboration, the founding members of AIB began meeting and launched the coalition in 2013.


What We’ve Accomplished

We bring our member organizations together to influence policy issues in a way that they can’t do on their own.

We organize roundtable calls that allow our members to share resources and ideas.

  • Our roundtable discussions allow our member associations to share best practices, gain knowledge of new topics, and learn of replicable programs that they can take back to their members. As one member association said after one call, “It was so incredibly helpful to hear about the successes that other groups have experienced and be able to use those ideas to save time and money.”
  • Recent call topics include, “Engaging Suppliers in Supporting Indies,” “Omni-Channel Retailing and What It Means for Independents,” “Creating Events that Engage Consumers,” “Best Practices for Member Education,” and “Shop Local in the Age of Amazon.”

We produce resources that member businesses use to educate key audiences.

We raise the visibility of independent businesses and the issues that matter to them in the media.

  • AIB adds the perspective of independent businesses to national conversations, including by publishing op-eds in such major outlets as the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek. As one member association has said, AIB’s media work has let the association’s member businesses know that “they have a voice.”

We research critical issues affecting independent businesses.

  • AIB produces background research on the topics our members need to know about, including the small business credit crunch, the switch to EMV-compatible POS systems, and the impact of minimum wage increases on independent retailers.

We gather vital information about the state of independent businesses.

  • Our annual Independent Business Survey of more than 3,000 independent businesses around the country yields valuable data for our member associations.
  • The survey’s findings spark media attention, as well as help influence decision-makers on both the public support and continuing policy struggles of independents.

We host a summit gathering for member organizations,

  • Our 2016 AIB Summit allowed member organizations to spend a day sharing tools and information, and strategizing together about how to better support independent businesses. “The brainstorming that we did was invaluable,” noted one participant. Another described it as, “A wonderful, informative event.”


Member Organizations

For a list of AIB’s member organizations, go here

To learn more about the AIB and how to get involved, please contact us.