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What is Sustain-a-Bull?

Sustain-a-Bull is Durham’s non-profit independent business alliance, which promotes and supports locally owned, independent businesses in our community based on the belief that independent businesses are vital to Durham’s economy, culture, and environment. Sustain-a-Bull is affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance’s (AMIBA) network of over 75 similar organizations around the country which work together to help locally owned businesses thrive in the communities that they serve.

What is an Independent Business Alliance?

An Independent Business Alliance (IBA), such as Sustain-a-Bull, works to build vital local economies based on independent, locally-owned businesses and help local entrepreneurs compete successfully against chains, online competitors and others. Sustain-a-Bull unites locally-owned independent businesses, citizens, and community organizations to achieve this goal.

We focus on three main areas in our programming: public education about the greater overall value local independent businesses can provide as well as the vital economic, social and cultural roles that they play in our community; facilitating cooperative promotion, advertising, purchasing, sharing of skills and resources and other activities to help local businesses gain economies of scale and compete more effectively; and creating a strong and uncompromised voice to speak for local independent businesses in the media and local government.

Why IBAs?

Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first” initiative run by a local business organization – such as Sustain-a-Bull – reported an average revenue growth of 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative. In a recent survey from the Institute for Local Self Reliance, 75% of survey respondents in cities with a “buy local first” initiative reported that the initiative had had a positive impact on their business.


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