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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 manufactured merchandise.

The core members of DIBS -- Fabric Bliss, Fashion Denver, Fast Geek Boutique, I Heart Denver, MegaFauna, Mona Lucero, Thread Handmade and Rakun -- will step into the fray and make themselves known today from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a Small Business Saturday Boutique Crawl, in conjunction with a national event sponsored by American Express. Most of them will offer refreshments and other special activities, from craft tables to photo booths, along with a holiday-ready overload of great local gifts. "With so much advertising out there, people need to feel more connected to the places where they're shopping," Throckmorton says. "Rather than placing ads or bombarding people on Facebook, we're saying, 'Here's an easy way to shop local.'"

Go to www.shopdibs.com or the Facebook page for more information.
Sat., Nov. 26, 2011

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