38,000 Local Businesses and Independent Business Advocacy Groups Launch “Shift Your Shopping”

This is a guest post by Laury Hammel, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network and Former CLF Board Member

On November 14 the 5th annual Shift Your Shopping holiday campaign launches the 2015 season, encouraging individuals and businesses to “shift” more of their visits for holiday shopping, entertaining and dining to local independent businesses. More than 180 local business organizations across the U.S. and Canada, collectively representing more than 38,000 locally owned and independent businesses, are participating in this collaborative campaign.  The campaign continues through December.

Shift Your Shopping was created five years ago by Cambridge Local First and Somerville Local First and its mission is to “build a tradition that strengthens local economies, expands local employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding holiday shopping experience.”

Grassroots groups like Monadnock Buy Local, the Louisville Independent Business Alliance and others will execute campaigns with their own local flair, using Shift Your Shopping templates as well as incorporating campaigns like Plaid Friday and Cider Monday (pro-local antidotes to the chain-centered Black Friday and “Cyber Monday”).

The campaign also encourages people to employ the energy and resources of Small Business Saturday as part of season-long outreach.

When even marketers whose business is promoting Black Friday report that 79% of their website users don’t like to shop on the day, you know the times are changing! Jen Risley, Executive Director of Monadnock Buy Local, a New Hampshire advocacy group notes that “Shift Your Shopping promotes the community-centered alternative to the consumer frenzy that descends upon us each November.”

The ShiftYourShopping.org website provides a gateway to resources from many community campaigns and includes easy-to-use graphics and activities that allow participants to spread the critical message easily where they live.

A 2015 National Retail Federation survey projects $805 in holiday spending per person this year and sustained “buy local” campaigns have demonstrated their capacity to shift sizable portions of that spending from chains and remote businesses to local entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, the Institute for Local Self Reliance gathered sales data from more than 3000 independent business. That data revealed independent businesses in communities sustaining year-round “buy local and independent” campaigns run by grassroots groups saw revenues grow 9.3% in 2014. That nearly doubled the 4.9% increase for businesses in areas without such an alliance (see graph for survey results over 3 years).

Becky McCray of Small Business Survival said, “We can opt out of the crowds, and choose when we want to spend our money with local businesses that support our family and community throughout the holidays instead.”

Jeff Milchen, co-founder of the American Independent Business Alliance, adds that, along with creating local jobs, “We also want people to patronize independents for selfish reasons – enjoying the more relaxed and personal experiences at their local merchants and perhaps connecting with neighbors while doing so.”

See ShiftYourShopping.org for stories of pro-local campaigns, templates for easy customization, and the roster of participating organizations.

Shift Your Shopping co-sponsors include Small Business Survival, Independent We Stand, Shop for Good and the American Independent Business Alliance.

See http://shiftyourshopping.org/2015/welcome/

Harvard Square Cash Mob – Small Business Saturday

A Cash Mob will be crowding the Harvard Square on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015. Cambridge Local First will ask Cash Mob shoppers to pledge to spend a minimum of $10 at local businesses that day. 

Cambridge Local First (CLF) will be in Brattle Square Plaza during 10:00 am-2:00 pm, to hand out shopping maps to let people know where they can shop, eat, and support locally. This map will feature local business’ deals and sales. The first 200 shoppers will receive a complimentary Cash Mob tote bag. The shoppers supporting the most local businesses that day will be able to enter a raffle giveaway for a $100 gift card to Cardullo’s. The Cambridge Community Chorus will be performing at 11 am. This event is graciously sponsored by CLF member, Nift.

Cambridge Local First invites the Cambridge community to do their holiday shopping by supporting local business. CLF encourages everyone to shop locally and remember that, when you chose a local business, nearly every dollar you spend in your city, stays in your city.

About Cambridge Local First
Founded in 2005, Cambridge Local First is a non-profit network whose mission is to build a strong Cambridge economy and a vibrant community. Cambridge Local First advances this mission with several campaigns throughout the year including its annual business directory (now in its 10th edition), events such as the Cash Mob, the CLF Community Card, business improvement seminars, and educational materials on the benefits of choosing local first.

About Small Business Saturday®
American Express founded Small Business Saturday® in 2010 to help business owners with their most pressing need – getting more customers. Today, the nation has embraced the day as part of the holiday shopping tradition. Shoppers, businesses, government officials, local organizations, and corporate partners come together to celebrate their neighborhoods on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 28, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (EST) 
Brattle Square Plaza (In front of Crema Cafe) - 27 Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 -

Cambridge Local First Celebrates Local Economy Week!

Cambridge-City-HallThe City of Cambridge, in partnership with Cambridge Local First (CLF), has declared the week of November 8-14, 2015 as Local Economy Week. This annual week-long celebration started in 2010 to recognize the hundreds of diverse locally owned and independent business in Cambridge.

Cambridge Local First will commemorate the 5th annual Local Economy Week with City officials on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in front of City Hall. CLF invites the newly elected City Council members to commemorate Cambridge as a “Local Economy Community.” What does being a Local Economy Community mean for Cambridge? It means the City’s focus became, and has proudly stayed, even more local than before.

Later in the evening, CLF is throwing a party to celebrate 10 years of supporting and promoting local and independent Cambridge businesses and organizations. The Local Music Celebration will take place on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at The Sinclair in Harvard Square at 52 Church Street, Cambridge MA 02138. Doors will open at 6:30 pm. Music will start at 7 pm.  Performances will feature Dan Blakeslee, a local award-winning folk musician, and David Johnston, a Cambridge-based blues and folk musician. Guests will be able to meet local business owners, enjoy light refreshments, and appreciate great folk music. This event is proudly sponsored by CLF Members, Irving House at Harvard and New Leaf Legal. RSVP here > >

At the event, CLF will be launching the 2016 Business Directory. CLF encourages the Cambridge community to use this directory to choose local first, especially during Local Economy Week.

Local Music Celebration: 10 Years of Cambridge Local First

Cambridge Local First (CLF) is throwing a party to celebrate 10 years of supporting and promoting local and independent Cambridge businesses and organizations.

The Local Music Celebration will take place on Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 at The Sinclair in Harvard Square at 52 Church Street, Cambridge MA 02138. Doors will open at 6:30pm. Music will start at 7pm.  Performances will feature Dan Blakeslee, a local award-winning folk musician, and David Johnston, a Cambridge based blues and folk musician. Entry is free! Guests will be able to meet local business owners, enjoy free food, and appreciate great folk music. This event is proudly sponsored by CLF Members, Irving House at Harvard and New Leaf Legal.

In addition to celebrating 10 years, CLF will be launching our 2016 Business Directory. We encourage the Cambridge community to use this directory to choose local first, especially since the week of November 10th is Local Economy Week. Also, in Harvard Square, November is Folk Music Month. There is no better place to pay tribute to your local economy and local music together! We invite the Cambridge community to come out and celebrate with us!

RSVP Today

This event is free is open to the public, so bring a friend!


Boston Police Department Pre-Holiday Fraud Awareness Training Seminar

The Boston Police Department will be holding a Pre-Holiday Fraud Awareness Training Seminar.   They have invited the Cambridge Business Community to take advantage of this training. The seminar is going to focus on issues that businesses face during the holiday season, They will be showing how re-encoded credit cards and gift cards are made and why, They will be going over the new chip credit cards and the issues that merchants will be facing with the new technology and how they are going to be responsible for any losses.  They will be going over how to detect counterfeit money and American Express Travelers Checks, They will also touch on the new shoplifting laws.  The seminar is going to deal mostly with any business that deals with credit cards, cash or travelers checks. Some Cambridge businesses have already signed up.  If you would like to attend send an email to holidayseminar2015@gmail.com

Pre-Holiday Fraud Awareness

Presented by: The Boston Police Department

November 10, 2015

10am – 12pm

John Hancock

Dorothy Quincy Suite

180 Berkeley Street

Boston, MA 02116

If you’re a merchant, business or financial institution that accepts credit and/or debit cards, don’t miss this free event.  Register today!

To confirm seating, please contact Detective Steven Blair at holidayseminar2015@gmail.com.

Cambridge City Council Candidates Answer our Questions!

With City Council elections fast approaching it is time for CLF's biannual candidate survey. We asked each and every campaign to answer a series of questions to find where they stand on issues affecting the local and independent business community. The following candidates answered our survey in full. Please take some time to reach through their responses, and most importantly, make sure to vote on Tuesday, November 3, 2015!

Interested in becoming a Massachusetts state supplier?

Save the Date – Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Regional Series

Thursday, November 5, 2015

8:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M.

Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120

Join the state Supplier and Diversity Office for a morning of networking and workshops designed to provide capacity building and expanded procurement opportunities for the small and diverse enterprises currently conducting or interested in pursuing supply-chain engagements with state, municipal, or private buyers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Series aims to develop a partnership between the Commonwealth, local municipalities, and private buyers that will assist small and diverse businesses.

The Series goals are to assist small and diverse businesses by:

  • Increasing the marketplace of business opportunities for small and diverse enterprises in Massachusetts;
  • Convening procurement representatives from state, municipal, and private organizations with small and diverse business owners;
  • Promoting networking between small and diverse businesses with buyers and key procurement decision makers; and
  • Providing small and diverse businesses with access to capacity-building resources.

The City of Cambridge will be hosting a table at the event, promoting Cambridge local businesses. If you are interested in getting onto the City’s vendor registry, please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov. To register as an attendee to this event and get yourself in front of state, municipal and private buyers, click here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/ma-supplier-diversity-regional-series-roxbury-attendees-registration-18653964510


Cambridge Local First is a Leader in the National Local Economy Movement!

The Local Economy Movement (sometimes referred to as Local First or Buy Local Movement) officially began in 2001 when two national organizations were founded--the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Since that time over 200 local networks have emerged, all with a common theme:

  • When a purchase is made at a locally owned business 48% of the money stays in the community whereas when made at a chain only 13.6% stays locally--buying local has 3X the impact on the local economy.
  • Local small businesses are the real job creators in this nation accounting for over 50% of all new jobs
  • Local businesses are essential to a vibrant community, contribute at a high level to local nonprofits, and they provide better customer service

Cambridge Local First is celebrating its tenth anniversary and has emerged as a leader in the national movement:

  • Cambridge Local First is one of the strongest networks in the nation comprised of 358 locally owned and independent businesses.
  • CLF's annual membership directory has connected residents with Cambridge businesses and this trailblazing publication has been used as a model by communities throughout New England and the nation.
  • With CLF taking the lead the Cambridge City Council for many years has approved a resolution making Cambridge a Local Economy Community and promoting Cambridge Local Economy Week on November 8-14, 2015.
  • CLF has been active in local government and has worked closely with City of Cambridge officials to find every opportunity to make life easier for local businesses.
  • Cambridge is blessed with several local independent banks--three headquartered in Cambridge. CLF has successfully encouraged residents, businesses, and the City to `Move Your Money' to our local communities and to keep our money in Cambridge.

We are lucky to live in the great City of Cambridge! Cambridge Local First is a big part of making Cambridge a terrific place to live and work and local business leaders look to CLF for inspiration. By supporting Cambridge Local First and choosing to consider local first when making your purchasing decisions you are helping build a strong local economy!

Laury Hammel, Founder and ED of the Sustainable Business Network and Co-Founder of BALLE

A Letter from Co-Founder, Laury Hammel

Dear Cambridge Local First Friends,

It has been an honor and a pleasure to have played a leadership role in the development of Cambridge Local First. I am confident I am leaving Cambridge Local First in good hands and that CLF is poised for a fantastic future. This feels really good!

I have been a resident of Cambridge for over 15 years and I plan on living in this wonderful community for many years to come. Cambridge is my home! I will look for any way to support the work of CLF and to connect with this important organization and my good friends. In fact, I was honored to be invited to write an article about the national local economy movement for the monthly newsletter and I look forward to this as an excellent way to keep in touch and to contribute.

I am the founder and the Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts which is headquartered in Central Square. We look forward to working with Cambridge Local First and six other Local First networks that we work closely with to grow our local economy movement.

Thanks to everyone for all you do for our community and our planet!

With gratitude,
Laury Hammel

Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accident’s Training

What can keep your employees healthier, happier, on-the-job, and possibly help with your Workers Compensation premium?

The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accident’s / Office of Safety promotes workplace safety and supports employers with Workers Compensation insurances, providing assistance for the prevention of occupational injury, illness and death in the workplace.

One of their main efforts is to promote on the job training to employees, in all relevant topic and behavioral/performance areas through a safety training grant program. The program is designed to provide and improve safety education and training to employers/employees within the Commonwealth, covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Law. A summary of the program can be seen here.

The Workplace Safety Training & Education Grant Program Application program promotes safe and healthy conditions in the workplace by awarding state funds to eligible applicants, annually. The training grants allow employers to select the training areas, and the training providers that best fit their needs, be they based in governmental requirements such as OSHA or EPA, or in those areas that most affect their employees that may not be specifically required by regulation.

FY16 Grant Application and Contractual Documents with instructions are provided on line and grant up to $25,000 in support, for employers who are in Good Standing with the MA Department of Revenue

The speakers will be Kathleen Manson, Director of the Commonwealth’s Department of Industrial Accidents. She will explain the overall grant program’s history, processes, and features, as well as how it can be of value to you and your employees.

The other speaker will be William Trabilcy, Principle at Engagement By Design/EHS Works, a consulting practice in support of workplace safety and compliance. He will discuss aspects of training design and effectiveness, and address typical occupational safety risk areas where training/learning/performance can make a difference. He has extensive experience in workplace health, safety and environmental management, OSHA compliance, risk management, and is a speaker at national conferences on training effectiveness and learner engagement.

for more information, contact: EHSWorks@verizon.net