Tempe, Arizona (NAPSI) - Independent We Stand, a movement of locally owned businesses and people across the country, is dedicated to educating their communities about the importance of buying local.

More than 100 million people are expected to “shop small” this year, and Independent We Stand is now offering its first mobile phone app to help consumers search for their favorite local businesses, anywhere.

Whether you’re looking for pizza places inChicago, bike shops inPortland, or hardware stores inFlorida, the Independent We Stand mobile app has you covered. The search engine has five categories: Shop Local, Eat Local, Local Services, Play Local, and Other, making it easy to localize your lifestyle and support your local economy. Once a category is selected, users can search by current location or select an address, city, state or zip code. Users also have the ability to recommend their favorite locally owned businesses. Business owners can also use the app to become a member of Independent We Stand.

Independent We Stand also offers support to its members from its Independent We Stand Resource Center, offering marketing materials, step-by-step activation tips and more. Independent We Stand members can take advantage of the free materials to promote their locally owned status. Members also have access to free signage, as well as information on how to create an online presence with social media.

“Buying local encourages people to reinvest in their communities by shopping with local businesses like our Independent We Stand members,” said Bill Brunelle of Independent We Stand. “Locally owned businesses reinvest in the local economy at a 60 percent higher rate than chains and Internet retailers, helping to revitalize their economies.”

Consumers can dramatically affect their own communities by shopping local. When you spend $100 at an independent business, $68 returns to the local economy versus $43 when spent with a national chain. Find out what kind of economic impact shopping local in your city can have by visiting www.IndependentWeStand.org/spend_local.

Independent We Stand is proudly sponsored by STIHL Inc. To download the app visit: www.independentwestand.org/introducing-the-independent-we stand-mobile-app/.

For more information about Independent We Stand visit www.IndependentWeStand.org.