The Vernon Independent Retailers Association was formed in 2012 by a coalition of local business owners who saw a need to bring the "Shop Local" message to the town's residents.
The group formed when Dan Segal, proprietor of Healthy Thymes Market, took to the streets and met with individual shop owners at their place of business to discuss creating a group that could pool resources and ideas to advertise the benefits of shopping at local businesses. Thus the core group was formed.
As with most associations, one project led to another and expansion became the order of the day. Meetings with local government bodies, including the mayor and the Economic Development Advisory Committee, proved VIRA was on the right track and all involved agreed the program should be expanded.
Today, the Association has produced a video and administers an advertising program in local newspapers consisting of full and half-page color ads to promote the advantages of shopping local. This informational site is a direct implementation of VIRA to advance the idea of shopping local and the belief that businesses in a community need the support of the citizens living there, just as the members of the community need the local businesses.