What does it mean to be Local?

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While this may seem an easy question to answer, when we are trying to determine who can and who cannot be a member of our Local First network, it is not simple at all. Is a retail business with several outlets outside of our city still local?  How many stores can it have before it is no longer ‘locally owned’?   Does the size of a business matter? Size in revenues or number of employees? What about a bank?  Must it be privately held?  Or, how much of the bank can be publicly traded before it is no longer ‘local?’  If a business grows by franchising, is each of its locations now a separate entity?  Or, when does it become ineligible for membership in a local network (such as CLF) as its business structure no longer complies?

What matters to the consumer?  Perhaps it is knowing and being known by your local business owner/operator.  Or maybe it is just being conveniently located near a customer’s work or home.  Or maybe that business gets its products locally, or at least from fairly traded sources.

What matters to the community?   For the first responders, it is knowing whom to contact when street disruptions or emergencies occur.  For cultural and charitable organizations, it is getting their support for schools or theater groups, or the homeless, or underfed people in the neighborhood.

What matters to colleagues?  When we meet at an event, or sit at a board meeting, the locally owned businesses are represented by the owners of companies.  We do not have to defer decisions to a higher authority.  We speak and act from our personal business experiences and outlooks.  While we do not always agree, we DO listen, understand and respect others’ perspectives more clearly because we know that owners understand the consequences of their policies, of regulations, of movements in the marketplace far more intimately than those who are part of a larger corporate structure.  We can more easily partner with our owner colleagues, be quick and creative and respond to our community more appropriately than larger businesses with larger reach.

This is, I hope, the beginning of a larger discussion.  We welcome your input at all levels: responding to surveys, writing letters, or even writing your own piece on the meaning of Local to you, to all of us.

Join us for our second annual Look of Local Fashion Show!

The second annual Look of Local will take place on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 from 6-9PM at the Garment District at 200 Broadway in Kendall. Last year, over 100 Cantabrigians joined us for an amazing evening of food, fun and fashion at Workbar Cambridge, this year will be even better!

This year’s event will once again feature a fashion show with clothes and accessories from local vendors. We will also have a vendor fair, where guests can peruse and purchase items from the night’s show as well as other goods. With music by a local DJ and complimentary food and drink, it is sure to be a great night.

Last year, we had an incredible roster of retailers and makers at the show and on the runway. For more information about event details take a look at the online version of the event program or click any of the photos to be taken to the corresponding business's website.  

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A little pre-show shopping at businesses pop-up tables.

 

 

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Photograph by Michael Rose Photography

 

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Having a hard time not laughing with hilarious co-host and actor, Michael Messina

 

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The crowd cheers to start the show!

 

Have fun and kick butt at our next CMC Event!

Cambridge Local First (CLF) will host an exclusive kickboxing class on Saturday, June 25th at 5pm at Redline Fight Sports in Central Square (614 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139). Redline Fight Sports trains some of the best fighters around, but fear not, this event is designed for locals of all skill levels. Afterwards, head over to the Middle East Restaurant for some great food - all at 10% off for community members. Bring a friend or come solo, either way it is bound to be a great night!

This event is free to CLF Community Members; however, guests must show their CLF Community Card at the door. Space will be limited. CLF Community Cards are available for purchase for $20 online and in-store at Artisan Trading Co., Cambridge Naturals, Harvard Book Store, Harvest Co-op, Nomad, Out of the Blue Gallery, and Porter Square Book Store. CLF Community Membership includes deals and discounts at over 60 and growing local Cambridge businesses and access to exclusive community events.

RSVP Today

Reserve your space before its gone

Make Your Dream Home a Reality at Cambridge’s First Ever Home Show!

Cambridge Local First (CLF) will host Cambridge’s first Home Show on Saturday, June 18, 2016 from 11:00am – 3:00pm at Artisans Trading Company, located at 125 Fawcett St. in Cambridge. In addition to being the first in Cambridge, this event will also be unique as the only Home Show to feature exclusively locally and independently owned businesses.

Stroll through Artisans Trading Company’s expansive warehouse showroom, featuring handcrafted furniture imported from Indonesia. Chat with a variety of vendors specializing in everything from home improvement and architecture to personal concierge and home organization. Catch a couple of demos from industry experts on the main stage. You can also try your luck in our raffle for a chance to win outstanding prizes.

The Cambridge Home Show is designed to be a great outing for the whole family. Younger guests can enjoy a dedicated children’s area with activities from local businesses. CLF will also be serving complimentary refreshments courtesy of Bon Me and Iggy’s Bread of the World.

Founded in 2005, Cambridge Local First is a non-profit network of over 400 businesses and 1000 community members whose mission is to build a strong Cambridge economy and a vibrant community.

Happy #BankLocal Month!

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Dear Cambridge Local First Members and Friends,

LOCAL is BIG!

As a result of the national movement, the word LOCAL has become one of the best ways to attract customer attention and promote almost any business. We are all seeing it everywhere.

Cambridge Local First is celebrating its eleventh year of encouraging residents to patronize locally owned businesses and we continue to promote its many benefits for the owners, the residents, and the community. However, we all sometimes forget the extraordinary benefits of banking locally. Cambridge is fortunate to have several outstanding local banks. They are located close to our homes and businesses and they can absolutely do everything the big national and multinational banks can.

Why not keep the money in Cambridge where it can be used to improve our local economy? Here are four solid and practical reasons why you should Move Your Money to our local banks and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same:

  1. Receive the same services at a lower cost!
    Most locally owned banks offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, and often at much lower cost than big banks.
  2. Put your money to work growing our local economy.
    Small businesses create the majority of new jobs and depend heavily on local banks for financing. Small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, yet they account for more than half of small business lending.
  3. Keep decision-making local.
    At local banks loan approvals and other key decisions are made by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local banks are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject.
  4. Support businesses that share a commitment to our Cambridge community.
    The fortunes of local banks are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local banks benefits. This is why local banks are so supportive of Cambridge nonprofits in general and Cambridge Local First in particular!

Locally yours,
Rachael Solem and Frank Kramer, Co-Chairs of Cambridge Local First


 

CLF Member Banks
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