It'd be a stretch to start a local campaign along the lines of "Keep Austin Weird" while maintaining a straight face. We might have to start with "Make St. Louis Weird," and then move on to the keeping part. That being said, plenty of our most beloved communities haven't yet succumbed to the siren lure of sameness offered by chain retailers, and that's the way BUILD St. Louis would like to keep it. BUILD (Businesses United for Independent Local Development) is a fledgling nonprofit group dedicated to promoting local independents and extolling their benefits (quick response to local customer needs, diversity of retail environment, profits staying in the local community and plain-old community character). Nobody talks the good talk about the importance of local business like BUILD director Michael Levinson. This banding-together is actually taking off -- similar organizations have popped up all over the nation, from Albequerque's "Keep It Querque" to NC's "Raleigh Unchained." Finally, we're at the vanguard of something besides obesity!