The first Power of Local in 2017 was such a big success that it continued in 2019. This event became a gathering of the tribe of local business and a place where we celebrated being local. More importantly, we learned the “Power of Local” and how to use it to grow our businesses. The panels were comprised of AIBA members thus facilitating learning from each other and further building our community. Our keynote speaker was Michael Shuman, who brought a “bigger picture” focus with Pollinating Success on a Tight Budget.

attendees rated the event very highly and had wonderful comments:

“Hard to choose a favorite. I really enjoyed the format of a panel with open discussion and questions from the audience. In particular, LOVED Hill Abell, Laura Fowler, and Michael Shuman.”

“Massage therapists is s nice touch. “Divine stirring the pudding.”  Kind is a four letter word.”

“The best resource we have is each other.” – Rebecca Melancon “Stay true to your roots. Be adaptive and grateful .” – Hoover Alexander

“Speakers were awesome! Laura Fowler is always an outstanding speaker.”

“The conversations after the panels and the opportunity to meet and greet have been amazing!”

“Best start to the day – Elijah May! Community. Really enjoyed the panels – same as last year, nicely placed in the schedule. Great lineups!”

Morning Workshop: The Power of Social with Elijah May

The power of local is the power of roots, relationships and a real commitment to the community. The story of one local business that thrives is actually many stories rolled into one. From the particular difference a local business makes in the daily lives of its customers to the life-changing opportunities created when local business owners recognize the unique talents of local people, local businesses play a critical role shaping the culture of the communities in which they grow. In this kick-off session, we’ll explore some of those stories and talk about how embracing your roll as a local business owner can provide you with both great purpose and great profit. If you have a story about the power of local that you’d like to share with me before the retreat, please send it to

Morning Community Conversation: The Power of Growth

What does growth mean to you and to your business? Small can be beautiful and figuring out how big is big enough can be really tricky. For local business, one size does not fit all. We’ll help you find a way to scale your growth to match your personal and business goals. Panelists include: Hill Abell, Founder of Bicycle Sport Shop, Mason Ayers, CEO of Kerbey Lane Cafe, Sharon Mays, owner of Baby Greens, Michael Portman, Co-founder of Birds Barbershop and Verb and Stephanie Schuster, Owner of Upper Crust Bakery,

Luncheon Speaker: Michael Shuman: Pollinating Success on a Tight Budget

The key to stretching scarce economic-development dollars, argues author Michael Shuman, is to skip the expensive incentives and focus on diversifying your economy with new and expanded locally owned businesses. And the key to successful local economic development is to place its main functions – planning, local purchasing, local investing, business partnerships, and entrepreneurship programs – into self-financing “pollinator” enterprises. His most recent book, “The Local Economy Solution,” contains 27 examples of successful pollinator enterprises worldwide.  In this lunchtime talk, Shuman will showcase some of these models, and suggest strategies for Austin to take full advantage of them. After his presentation, we’ll take a break to give you the opportunity to talk to Michael while he does a book signing of his two most recent books.

Afternoon Community Conversation: The Power of Longevity

What does it take to stay in business for 20 years in a constantly changing environment like Austin? Hear war stories and sage advice from some business owners who have been there, done that and are preparing for the next 20 years. Panelists include: Hoover Alexander, Owner of Hoover’s Cooking, Laura Fowler, Managing Shareholder at The Fowler Law Firm, Dan Gillotte, Chief Executive Grocer at Wheatsville Food Co-op and Lauri Turner, Owner of Hatbox—A Modern Haberdashery.

Afternoon Workshop: The Power of a Plan

We all have plans. Big plans, small plans, maybe even no plans. But are your plans effective and focused in a way to get you where you want to go? Learn to articulate Purpose, Priorities, and Goals. With individual and some group work, re-kindle your sense of enthusiasm and even surprise.  Amplify your excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead.

The Community Campfire

What inspired you today? What will you take from what you’ve learned and how will you use it? We’ll engage in a fun and illuminating conversation to close the day while we have appetizers and drinks and share the fruits of the day.

Thank you to our sponsors

In partnership with the Austin Independent Business Alliance