Our History and Our Vision


Sustain-a-Bull was founded in 2010 by Tom Campbell of the Regulator Bookshop and a group of its neighbors and friends to promote shopping locally for the holidays. The initial Shop Independent Durham Week was so successful that Sustain-a-Bull incorporated as a nonprofit with the mission of promoting and supporting Durham's local business community. Since then, Sustain-a-Bull has operated as a small, largely volunteer-run nonprofit. The organizations’ focus has been on seasonal shopping events, promotions, and educational opportunities. To effectively serve the independent business community in our rapidly changing city, Sustain-a-Bull is growing and changing. To help usher in this new phase, the board transferred ownership of the program in 2018 to Christine Seed, who is a long-time Sustain-a-Bull supporter and a Durham small business owner.  

What’s next for Sustain-a-bull?

Sustain-a-Bull played a significant role in revitalizing retail in the downtown and 9th street shopping districts through its popular “Support Independent Durham” campaign. But we recognize that a diversified economy and equitable city cannot be sustained on select neighborhoods or retail alone. In the coming year, Sustain-a-Bull will focus on three areas of growth:

  1. We will expand the geographic reach of Sustain-a-Bull to more fully represent our diverse city by intentionally charting a course to bolster businesses in multiple neighborhoods within Durham County.

  2. We will welcome businesses beyond the retail sector by offering support relevant to the needs of different sectors and business models, such as those that provide services or operate without a brick and mortar location.

  3. As a comprehensive Independent Business Alliance, we will develop services for businesses based on their stated needs and challenges by increasing our direct support to business owners through cooperation and advocacy, beyond our signature public awareness campaign.

To steer this growth in 2019, Sustain-a-Bull will be listening to the needs and challenges of business owners, building a Board of Directors that represents our local business community, and rolling out tiered membership options for independent businesses, nonprofits, and community supporters.