About AIBA
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The Birth of a Grassroots Organization
In 2002, a group of local business owners met to explore the idea that local was a community value, that independent businesses built this city, reflect our culture and provide the things needed for a fulfilled life. They speculated that local businesses formed the foundation of a healthy local economy and played a major role in the creative and economic vibrancy of our community. They were right.

 The local movement began with the grassroots formation of the nonprofit Austin Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) and has blossomed ever since. Now we know that local business is important. Through independent studies and the growing voice of AIBA, evidence of the impact of independent business abounds. Through these efforts and a groundswell of public support, local is indeed a community value. For our customers, it means doing business with your neighbors. It means keeping your money in Austin. It means investing in Austinites and the city we love.
But local business is more than an economic powerhouse. It is the manifestation of our drive to create. It is the direct response of neighbors to the needs of other neighbors. It is the storefront of our hopes and dreams as individuals and as a community.  Entrepreneurs embrace their talents with a passion that feeds both their endeavors and our culture. From the unique shops to the musicians (independent businesses one and all) to the entrepreneurial spirit that exudes the attitude that anything can be done—local business makes it happen every day.

Locally-owned businesses nourish the heart and soul of any community. They are, in fact, what gives a community its unique character and identity. It is perhaps this reflection that gives Austin its vast and varied local business pool. While many swim in Barton Springs, many more dip into the pool of independent businesses on a daily basis. This is what brings tourists and newcomers year after year. It is what proud Austinites value—that uniqueness that stakes a claim and says we are unlike anywhere else. Local is indeed a community value in Austin.
The Austin independent Business Alliance is a 501(c)(6) membership organization whose mission is to promote and support locally owned businesses through advocacy, consumer education and services to our members.

Our Core Values:
    •    Success for the local business community
    •    Community involvement for AIBA and our members
    •    Collaboration with our members and other community organizations
    •    Integrity in all that we do
    •    Diversity in our membership and our affiliations

Our Goals:
    •    Educate the public about the cultural and economic benefits of buying locally
    •    Promote AIBA and our members to the public
    •    Grow AIBA to be recognized as the voice of local business
    •    Advocate to government on behalf of our members about issues of concern to local business


Did you know that AIBA has won an International Award for our IBIZ District program.?

AIBA is a strong advocate for local business at City Hall and beyond. Read more about our advocacy work.



Local Economies Council a Sister Organization for AIBA
LEC-logoAIBA has formed a sister organization to enhance our mission of supporting and promoting locally owned business. The Local Economies Council (LEC) is a 501(c)3 recognized by the IRS as a tax deductible organization. Having a 501(c)3 allows us to apply for grants and foundation funding.  

The Local Economies Council is dedicated to:
• educating the public about the economic, cultural and community benefits of locally owned businesses
• conducting research for this purpose and to encourage the development of a vibrant, sustainable local economy by promoting local business ownership, community involvement and economic prosperity through education, support and collaboration.   

We envision Austin as a place in which the Local First concept is infused in all segments of community including business, education and public service.

Watch for LEC and AIBA to work together on events and programs in the coming months.



I10th-logo-smn 2012 the Austin Independent Business Alliance celebrated ten years of building the local movement in Austin, Texas. As the only nonprofit exclusively representing independent businesses, AIBA has worked to engage businesses and citizens alike in creating a more vibrant, sustainable community for Austin.


1. AIBA created the Buy Local Movement in Austin, which has changed the consumer landscape. Austinites are now very aware of choosing local first.

2. AIBA has elevated public awareness of the importance of buying locally, both from a cultural and an economic perspective.

3. AIBA launched the  pdf first major study of the economic impact of shopping locally (1.15 MB)  versus chain stores in the landmark 2002 study of BookPeople, Waterloo Records and Borders. The results of this research have been reinforced nationally through similar studies.

4. AIBA started “Austin Unchained,” now adopted as America Unchained, to shift holiday spending to locally owned businesses.  

5. AIBA has created eight IBIZ Districts® throughout Austin to bring attention to neighborhood districts filled with locally owned shops. The IBIZ Districts® program has won acclaim through an International award from the IEDC.

6. AIBA created “Celebrate Your Independents” to celebrate independently owned businesses as well as our nation’s independence on the Fourth of July. 

This is now a "Summer of Independents" campaign for the entire month of July.

7. AIBA publishes IndieAustin, a biannual member magazine and directory to help customers find and enjoy the rich diversity of goods and services offered by locally owned businesses.

8. AIBA provides IBuyAustin.com, which acts as a conduit of communication between local businesses and customers through listings, news, maps and much more.

9. AIBA has given voice to local business at City Hall and throughout local government. We have affected issues of the day as well as long-range planning.

 We authored the  pdf Local Business Manifesto (2.78 MB)  presented to the city in April 2012.

10. AIBA has increased business for members and all local business through marketing campaigns that redirect customers to independents.

 Look for our trademark armadillo logo throughout Austin 
to shop with locally owned businesses.


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Contact AIBA

Contact AIBA:
Rebecca Melançon

Local Business Superhero
aka Executive Director

Dixie Patrick
Membership Maven
aka Membership Director

Eve Richter Dinnan
Whiz of IBIZ
aka IBIZ District Director

Donna Nelson

Queen of Indie
aka Advertising & Partnership Sales

PO Box 49545
Austin, Texas 78765

AIBA Policies & Terms of Service