Free Tax Prep Office Hours

Are you prepared for the stress that tax season brings? The City of Cambridge is partnering with Cambridge Local First (CLF) to help ease your tax worries!

On February 23, 2016 you can meet with a professional tax and accounting consultant for free. These tax prep office will take place at 344 Broadway, in the 2nd floor conference room from 3-5 PM. The appointments will be free of charge and confidential. But these sessions are limited in quantity and are first come first serve, so book now! Schedule your free half-hour appointment before they run out!

The tax professionals include CLF members Alamir Hajiani of Hajiani CPA and Carole Bellew from Bookkeeping Plus More.

REGISTER TODAY

Book your appointment before they're gone!
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Plastic Bag Ban: Q&A Session

With the plastic bag ban fast approaching and a $300 daily fine for violations, it is important that businesses have a plan in place. Many local retailers are still unsure about sales tax and exemptions, and some restaurants still do not know how this law applies to them.

Get answers to these questions and many more at a joint Q&A session with city officials. We will discuss what you need to do to stay compliant, as well as how you can file for extensions and exemptions. We will also have a list of compliant vendors for attendees. 

The Q&A will take place at the Lombardi Building, 831 Massachusetts Ave, Basement Conference room on January 20 from 10-11AM. This is a FREE event, however, space is limited so reservations are required.

Register Today

This is a FREE event, however, space is limited so reservations are required.

CLF bids farewell to Board Member Gerry Wolf

Cambridge Local First was founded ten years ago by a small group of local and independent business owners who were passionate in their belief that our businesses are in large part responsible for giving Cambridge its character, uniqueness and economic strength. Although most of our founding members remain on our Board, a few of them have either retired, sold their businesses to new local owners or found it necessary to move on for personal reasons.

So it is with some sadness and significant gratitude that we must bid farewell to Gerry Wolf, founder and former owner of  the 1369 Coffee Houses in Inman and Central Squares, now Cambridge institutions. Although he remains personally dedicated to our goals, Gerry has decided that it’s time for him to retire from our Board. As treasurer and Chair of our membership committee he has been one of our strongest contributors. His business wisdom and focus on the fulfillment of our mission has kept us on target as we have grown from our humble beginnings to our present citywide recognition as spokesman for 380 locally owned businesses. Wherever he has seen a need, he has offered and put in his own time and effort to help us get it done. Gerry’s sound thinking and humor will be sorely missed.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

WHEN
WHERE
Brattle Square Plaza (In front of Crema Cafe) - 27 Brattle Street Cambridge, MA 02138 -