1.Shift as much of your spending as you can to locally owned businesses. Don’t assume that this will mean paying more. Many independents offer “frequent buyer” discounts, and some will match a competitor’s price if you ask.2.Educate your friends and neighbors. Most people don’t realize how shopping at independent stores can benefit their community. Write letters to the editor. Organize an educational event or demonstration in a busy part of town or in front of a prominent chain store.3.Encourage local nonprofits and community groups to turn concern for locally owned businesses into part of their mission. Such organizations have an inherent interest in maintaining local businesses and vibrant downtowns.4.Talk with local business owners. Find out what their challenges are and how the community can support them.5.Organize against any sprawling corporate retail developments planned for your community. For help and information, contact Sprawl-Busters at www.sprawl-busters.com.6.Advocate for new rules. To ensure the long-term survival of community-based enterprises we’ll have to rewrite public policy, particularly planning and zoning ordinances, so that they support local businesses, not large corporations.