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Local First History

In 2006, a small group of like-minded independently owned Milwaukee businesses began to meet to discuss how to make Milwaukee a more sustainable community and how to highlight the unique character of our local businesses. A commitment grew from those conversations to create a network that could advocate to the community all of the benefits of choosing local businesses first. The founding members named their group Our Milwaukee because they felt the name demonstrated the pride they felt about their City.

The network grew quickly and by 2011, with more than 200 member businesses and non-profits, a name change to Local First Milwaukee helped strengthen both our identity and mission.

Part of our advocacy work is to demonstrate how dollars spent locally effectively impact the local economy. Studies show that every $1 spent at a locally owned business, more than 68¢ stays local and impacts the local economy. Compare that same $1 spent at a chain store and only 43¢ remains in Milwaukee.

Locally owned businesses strengthen the local economy and create benefit for everyone!


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