Little Independent to Present in Panel “Building Indie Alternatives to Amazon, et al” at the American Independent Business Alliance “Go Local, Grow Local” Conference

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Local business alliance leaders and government and economic development officials will be in attendance in Louisville, KY March 29- April 1 at the American Independent Business Alliance “Go Local, Grow Local” Conference.” The goal of the conference is to spread ideas and best practices to help support small businesses throughout the country. Little Independent is an online marketplace for sale items at independent retail stores and its founder, Lesley Tweedie, will be presenting in a panel at the conference entitled “Building Indie Alternatives to Amazon, et al.”

AMIBA Conference Speaker Badge
The site was created to fill the need for a marketplace where Main St. style stores could promote themselves and sell merchandise off their sale racks.

Little Independent launched in June 2011 with about 20 independent partner stores. There are now more than 70 stores in 17 states using the site to access new customers, enhance visibility online and turn inventory faster. The site was created to fill the need for a marketplace where Main St. style stores could promote themselves and sell merchandise off their sale racks. The marketplace can certainly be described as an indie alternative to Amazon and the founder, Lesley Tweedie, is pleased to have the opportunity to present at the American Independent Business Alliance Conference.

The American Independent Business Alliance is a network of independent business alliance groups. According to AMIBA’s website, “An Independent Business Alliance® works to build vital local economies based on independent, locally-owned businesses and prevent chain proliferation and other trends from displacing local entrepreneurs. IBAs unite locally-owned independent businesses, citizens and community organizations to achieve this goal.” The organization helps communities develop “Buy Local” and “Shop Local” campaigns.

The mission of Little Independent is to be an advocate for independent retailers and to give savvy shoppers an easier way to find great independent stores and sale merchandise. Sellers on the site must meet certain criteria namely; they must represent brick-and-mortar storefronts with physical street addresses and telephone numbers. They must do the majority of sales locally rather than online. They have to be retailers rather than wholesalers or distributors and finally, they must be independently owned and not a part of a national chain or franchise. This criterion helps ensure there is a level playing field for the sellers. It also provides shoppers who prefer to shop from independent retailers a platform where they can be confident that every item sold is offered by a mom & pop style store.

Store profile pages on the site help shoppers get a better sense of the store’s character. The founder, Lesley Tweedie prefers to shop locally but found that when she did choose to shop online, there was no site to find independently owned stores and to browse their sale racks. Functioning both as a business directory and inventory aggregator, Little Independent solves the problem.

The problem solved for sellers is that of slow turning merchandise. Most stores have a sale rack of items that the regular customers have passed on at full price. Lesley Tweedie owns a retail store in Chicago and she found that other marketplaces such as Amazon, E-bay, etsy and Craigslist were not quite the right fit for small stores to list sale merchandise. Little Independent was developed to be an alternative.

The goal for attendees of the “Building Indie Alternatives to Amazon, et al” panel is to “Learn about some of the growing internet options for independent businesses to sell online through multi-business e-commerce sites and recapture some sales presently going to online mega-retailers.”

Lesley Tweedie hopes that sharing information on Little Independent will help attendees to better understand how the site works for retailers so that they can share the information with others in their independent business alliance groups. The more stores and sale item content that can be found on the site, the more beneficial it becomes for shoppers and sellers alike.

About:
Founded in 2010, Little Independent is a Chicago-based online marketplace for sale items at independent retail stores. Its mission is to be an advocate for independent retailers and to give savvy shoppers an easier way to find great independent stores and sale merchandise. To shop or sell, please visit http://www.littleindependent.com.

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Lesley Tweedie
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