Support Local Businesses, It's Better Than Squabbling

RECEIVED Tue., Dec. 19, 2006

Dear Editor,
    In response to a letter in last week’s edition [“Postmarks,” Dec. 15], I wanted to let readers know that the Austin Independent Business Alliance, Austin’s largest and longest-running local business advocacy organization sees other entities like Choose Austin First and Austin Unique not as competitors, but instead as co-promoters of the economic and quality-of-life benefits of shopping and doing business locally. The fact that Austin can support two nonprofits (AIBA and CAF) and one for-profit company (Austin Unique) all promoting the interests of local businesses is testament to the strength of our local business community and the support it enjoys in the community.
    As for being “financed” by Stratus Properties, yes they are one of our many sponsors and were also one of our first. They have participated with other AIBA sponsors like Catellus, Cencor, Endeavor, Trammell Crow, and Walters Southwest in helping craft our CLIC Program that helps place local, independent businesses in new commercial developments. These sponsors now actively recruit AIBA members and other local businesses for their developments and Stratus has recently provided new locations for Nuevo Leon, Satellite Cafe, Twin Liquors, and Waterloo Ice House in their Escarpment Village development. Their Block 21 project Downtown and the Crestview Station TOD on North Lamar provide even more opportunities for local businesses.
    We’re an independent group by nature. We do not support or oppose specific development projects, and we take tough stands on public policy issues that some of our sponsors don’t share. While we understand that there are other important quality of life issues in Austin like the environment, housing, health care, and many others, our focus is on promoting local, independent business, and we welcome and appreciate all those who wish to financially and otherwise support those efforts.
    Thanks for your continued coverage of local business issues.
Melissa Miller
Director, Austin Independent Business Alliance
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