In tough economic times, there's safety in numbers for independent boutiques showcasing local artists and designers: That's the thinking behind Denver Independent Boutiques, a new, small and growing congregation of retail entrepreneurs launched recently by Meghan Throckmorton of Rakun, a Santa Fe Drive boutique with a local focus. It's an idea that's been tried before (remember the Side Street Shopping List?), but the time is even more ripe for it as the buy-local movement grows. "I'm always pointing people in the direction of other boutiques," Throckmorton says. "But I still wonder how many people are actually patronizing those businesses or just going to Forever 21." DIBS is a way to literally put these shoppers' alternatives on the map -- an interactive map at the group's website, with information about each store. Throckmorton notes that membership requires each business to carry at least 50 percent locally... More >>>