Advocates for Independent Business Holds First Summit in D.C.

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    Independent business executives from a diverse array of industries attended the AIB Summit.
    Independent business executives from a diverse array of industries attended the AIB Summit.

    How to ensure that the voice of indie businesses is heard on both the national and local levels was the focus at the first Advocates for Independent Business (AIB) Summit on Tuesday, December 13, in Washington, D.C.

    Approximately 20 people attended the summit, which was organized by AIB, a coalition of trade associations representing independent businesses, including the organization’s founding member, the American Booksellers Association (ABA). The all-day summit provided organizations representing small businesses across multiple sectors the opportunity to discuss a range of strategies for advancing the localism movement and the most effective ways to frame the indie message.

    ABA's Teicher listens to a report by AIB coordinator and Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director Stacy Mitchell.
    ABA's Teicher listens to a report by AIB coordinator and Institute for Local Self-Reliance co-director Stacy Mitchell.

    The meeting was hosted by ABA CEO Oren Teicher and Stacy Mitchell, AIB’s coordinator and the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

    Among the topics discussed were the impact of technology, how to expand access to capital, growing market concentration, and successfully competing in the age of Amazon.

    David Peluso of Kountoupes-Denham, John Arensmeyer of the Small Business Majority, and ABA CEO Oren Teicher at the first AIB Summit.
    David Peluso of Kountoupes-Denham (left), John Arensmeyer of the Small Business Majority, and ABA CEO Oren Teicher at the first AIB Summit.

    The summit featured a working lunch, where attendees heard post-election updates from John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of the Small Business Majority, who provided a small business perspective on the next four years, and David Peluso an experienced public policy expert with close ties to the Trump transition team. Peluso is a principal at the D.C.-based lobbying firm Kountoupes-Denham.

    The panel discussion “Community Engagement & Advocacy as an Ingredient for Indie Business Success” featured the owners of several D.C.-area indie retailers, including Gina Schaefer of A Few Cool Hardware Stores, Steven Aarons of Barstons Child’s Play, Erik Kugler of BicycleSPACE, and Bradley Graham of Politics and Prose.

    The day concluded with a lively group discussion about key policy issues and strategic opportunities for collaboration among indie business organizations.