A nationwide study of “independent retailer vitality” conducted by the American Booksellers Association and Civic Economics, an a planning firm, ranks the Asheville metro area 53rd in the country, and one of the top 10 in its region and population categories.
The Indie City Index, as the study is called, measures both the number of independent businesses per capita in an area and the revenue those businesses bring in, as well as the degree to which chain stores have saturated an area.
The Asheville metro area got a score of 113.8, with 100 being the national average, ranking it 53rd in the nation. Asheville ranked 10th out of metro areas with population between 250,000 and 500,000 and seventh in the South Atlantic region. The study designated the area one of its “multi-category” performer.
The study’s results were hailed by the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, who put out an announcement declaring “survey names Asheville one of the strongest independent business retail areas in the US,” in all caps, no less.
“The survey also showed Asheville has the lowest chain store saturation of any metro area in North Carolina,” the announcement crowed. “Asheville Grown Business Alliance’s powerful ‘Love Asheville – Buy Local’; campaign seeks to bring awareness to the critical role independent businesses play in our economy and the sustainability of our area. Independent local businesses promote strong community relationships, give more to civic needs and the arts, reduce environmental impact and create more good jobs.”
— David Forbes, senior news reporter