Check it out // Celebrating independents

A new campaign called Celebrate Your Independents is underway — a month-long marketing effort designed to steer more traffic to Twin Cities independent businesses.

Several Southwest businesses are participating in the promotion, including Butter Bakery Café, Electric Fetus, Kitchen Window, Linden Hills Co-op and The Smitten Kitten.

As part of the campaign, shoppers who visit the 25 participating businesses will get a chance to enter a sweepstakes with a grand prize of $1,250 in gift cards from the retailers.

The contest started July 1 and runs through July 31. The limit is one entry per person at each business.

Celebrate Your Independents is the brainchild of MetroIBA, a nonprofit organization that supports locally owned, independent businesses in the Twin Cities. It has 145 business members.

On the MetroIBA website — metroiba.org — the organization makes the case for shopping local. If Twin Cities shoppers shifted 10 percent of their spending to local retailers instead of chains for one day, the local economy would gain $2 million, the organization reports. Further, when you spend $1 at an independent local business, an average of 68 cents is recirculated into the economy versus 43 cents for each dollar spent at a national retailer.

“Independents genuinely care about their community,” said Mary Hamel, executive director of MetroIBA. “Oftentimes owners live there, their children grow up there — they can’t help but be involved.”

Jeff Warner, president of Warners’ Stellian Appliance and MetroIBA, said independent businesses are a key ingredient in a “thriving local economy.”

“Neighborhoods with a lively mix of distinct businesses are vibrant, and they’re places we want to live and visit,” he said.

For more information about the Celebrate Your Independents, go to metroiba.org.

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Bastille Day Block Party

Barbette has a strong lineup of local bands for its eighth annual Bastille Day Block Party on July 18.

Performers include Mayda, Eyedea & Abilities, Romantica, Red Pens, the Magnolias, Chooglin, The Brass Messnegers, and Foxy Tann and the Whambamthankyouma’ams.

Besides music, the block party will have lots of other street entertainers — Minneapolis Art on Wheels, Infiammati Fire Circus, North Star Roller Girls, Familia Skate Shop, B Girls Sugarmamma, Mona Lisa and Aneka.

There will also be a local artists’ flea market on Lagoon.

Barbettte, 1600 W. Lake St., will be selling its French-inspired cuisine, too, to celebrate the holiday.

A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to People Serving People, an emergency shelter for homeless families in downtown Minneapolis. The party runs 2 p.m.–8 p.m.

To get more details on the Bastille Day Block Party, visit bastilledayblockparty.com.

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Garden and Art Tour

Tangletown Gardens is gearing up for another Garden and Art Tour on July 24.

The annual event showcases some of the Twin Cities’ best gardens, galleries and local art.

This year’s tour features nature and garden-themed works  by dozens of artists and gardens throughout the Twin Cities.

The tour runs 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the tour.

There will be a celebration with the artists, gardeners, home owners and Tangletown Gardens team after the tour at 7 p.m. at Tangletown Gardens, 5353 Nicollet Ave. S.

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Services Works’ July project

Services Works, the Southwest-based volunteer team the Journal has been tracking this year, is focusing on food for its July service project.

One task for participants is to go to a local farmers market and talk to a couple of vendors to see how they produce their food.

The Services Works organizers are also asking participants to go meatless for one Monday in July.

For more information, contact Services Works’ founder Welcome Jerde at [email protected]