For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Michael Caplan, Office of Economic Development, (510) 981-2490

This July 4th, Celebrate Berkeley's Independent Businesses

Berkeley, California (Monday, June 29, 2009) - On June 23, the Berkeley City Council proclaimed July 1-7, 2009 “Independents Week.” Berkeley will join communities across the nation, which are supporting economic democracy by celebrating the nation's locally owned, independent businesses.  Over 100 people have taken the Buy Local Berkeley Independents Week Challenge to meet all of their needs from July 1-7 exclusively at locally owned, independent Berkeley businesses.


Independents Week is sponsored by Buy Local Berkeley (, a collaborative of Berkeley independent businesses and artists, which educates about the cultural, environmental, community and economic benefits of shopping at locally owned and operated businesses. The organization boasts 330 members, all of which meet the organization's definition of locally owned and independently operated businesses and artists.


"In these economic times, supporting independent businesses can make a real difference to our community. Local independents spend 58 percent more in their local communities at other local businesses and charities than nationally owned chains do," said Amy Thomas, owner of Pegasus Books and Buy Local Berkeley Executive Chair. 


"Because of their ownership structures, our independent businesses can be very responsive to community values.  In Berkeley, this means that many of our indie businesses are Green Certified or offer eco-products and services that people here demand," said Mark McLeod, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Alliance and Buy Local Berkeley Executive Committee member.


"According to studies, local independents donate to local charities at three times the rate of national chains,” said McLeod. “So, when you shop with Berkeley indies, you are casting a vote for our home town -- and declaring your independence from cookie-cutter consumerism."


"Buy Local Berkeley is joining independent business alliances nationwide.  Thousands of local companies and citizens will take part in Independents Week to celebrate our great independent businesses," said Deborah Badhia, Executive Director of the Downtown Berkeley Association. "We have a reason to celebrate our local business people reflect the spirit of entrepreneurship in our community.  We want to be sure our friends and neighbors know that shopping at these places is important to keeping the unique personality of Berkeley."


People can participate in Independents Week by signing on to the Buy Local Berkeley Week Challenge at