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Local First launches initiative to keep business dollars in Milwaukee


Milwaukee (February 2, 2014) – Local First Milwaukee today announced its new initiative, Grow Local Business, which focuses on shifting business spending back to Milwaukee. The campaign, which runs from February through April, offers advice on how to boost the local economy by hiring talent and sourcing business products locally.

“We are excited to focus on growing the local business to business economy,” said Robert Wendt, President at Cultivate Communications and member of Local First Milwaukee. “This initiative should have significant impact on keeping business dollars in the Milwaukee area.” Cultivate Communications is the sponsor of this 3-month initiative.

The Grow Local Business initiative revolves around the Grow Local Business Challenge – where businesses have the opportunity to win valuable business products and services from local vendors. Businesses can submit a few lines that detail how they plan to shift business dollars locally this year. Three randomly chosen stories will win $2,500 in OnMilwaukee.com online advertising, an online storefront at Okanjo.com and other prizes.

Finally, Local First will offer events, workshops and classes to help local businesses grow:
Retail Rally educational events are happening all around Milwaukee this spring.
The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation offers classes for potential and current business owners.

“We’re just getting started,” said Pam Mehnert, General Manager at Outpost Foods, and board president of Local First Milwaukee. “We're poised to raise the bar and bring greater awareness of the real impact local businesses, local food, and local money can have in our communities. Watch for our Move Your Money, Eat Local and Shop Local initiatives, all rolling out this year.”

Learn more about the Grow Local Business initiative and participate in the giveaway to win online advertising, the opportunity to sell online, marketing services and more.

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Local First Milwaukee is an alliance of metro-Milwaukee independent businesses and nonprofits. Started in 2006, the organization’s message is simple: choose local first and watch the local economy prosper. They currently have 250 members and are a member of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), who also serves as the organization’s fiscal sponsor.

 


 

Local First Milwaukee in the News

Shopping local for the holidays adds up, 88Nine, December 9, 2013

Holiday Shopping Crucial for Milwaukee Artisans, WUWM, December 6, 2013

Localicious: 10 foodie gifts they'll rave about, OnMilwaukee.com, December 6, 2013

7 Must-See Wedding Vendors at Milwaukee’s Buy Local Gift Fair, Married in Milwaukee, December 1, 2013

Buy Local Gift Fair set for Lakefront Brewery, jsonline,com, December 1, 2013

‘Shop local’ grows as holiday season kicks off, The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, November 22, 2013

Local First asks holiday shoppers to use local stores, Waukesha Freeman, November 18, 2013

Support local vendors over holidays, BizTimes.com, November 15, 2013

Local First Milwaukee Encourages Consumers to Pledge to Shop Local, Hosts Buy Local Gift Fair, Urban MIlwaukee, November 15, 2013

Local First asks holiday shoppers to 'shift their shopping' to local stores, The Busines Journal of Greater Milwaukee, November 15, 2013

 


 

Local First Milwaukee Encourages Consumers to Pledge to Shop Local,
Hosts Buy Local Gift Fair


Milwaukee, WI (November 14, 2013)  – Local First Milwaukee, an independent business alliance, is urging consumers to “Shift Your Shopping this Holiday Season - Pledge to Shop Local." The pledge, hosted on the organization’s website, asks consumers to shift at least 10% more of their shopping from chains to local independent businesses. The group hopes to spread awareness of the benefits of supporting local retailers, artisans, and restaurants.

A Civic Economics study conducted for Local First found that if Milwaukeeans shift an additional 10% of their year-around shopping and dining from national chains to local businesses, they would create $311 million in new economic activity in the local economy every year. That is because independent retailers re-spend two to three times more of each sales dollar locally than their chain competitors.

On the Pledge page, visitors will also find tips on how to shift their shopping, including using the organization’s member directory and attending the Buy Local Gift Fair.

“Making the shift to local is one of the fastest ways to build strong local economies, create jobs, and a build more vibrant community,” said Nancy Quinn, Managing Director of Local First MIlwaukee. “These businesses also offer unique gifts, services and shopping experiences, things everyone enjoys, especially during the holidays.”

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s survey of 2012 holiday sales found independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first" campaign run by a local business/citizen alliance such as Local First Milwaukee saw revenues grow 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without an alliance.

Local First Milwaukee is one of nearly 150 other local business alliances participating in a national Shift Your Shopping campaign.

“We hope people have fun taking and sharing the pledge, “ said Quinn. “This little shift can have real impact.”

Buy Local Gift Fair
Sunday, December 8, 2012 | Noon – 4 p.m.
Lakefront Brewery
1872 North Commerce Street | Milwaukee

Free admission
40 LOCAL vendors under one roof!
Free brewery tours at 12:30 • 1:30 • 2:30
Beer and other beverages available for purchase from Lakefront Brewery
Food available for purchase from a Simmer Truck and Tall Guy and a Grill

Local First Milwaukee is once again making it easy for consumers to shop local and find unique gifts by bringing over 40 independent vendors under one roof. At the Buy Local Gift Fair, attendees will find items from food artisans Treat Bake Shop and Afro Fusion Cuisine and jewelry and other handcrafted pieces at The Waxing and Fair Trade for All. Those looking for something that says Milwaukee should be sure to stop at MilwaukeeHome and James Steeno Gallery. As in past years, nonprofits, including Milwaukee Empty Bowls and The Gathering, will be offering alternative gift giving opportunities. View a complete vendor list on the Local First website.

"Over thousand people regularly attend last this event," said Nancy Quinn, Managing Director of Local First Milwaukee "The turn out, the atmosphere - and let's not forget the beer - help make this a real community event."

Lakefront Brewery and Outpost Natural Foods are sponsors of the fair.

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Local First Milwaukee is an alliance of metro-Milwaukee independent businesses and nonprofits. Started in 2006, the organization’s message is simple: choose local first and watch the local economy prosper. They currently have 250 members and are a member of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), who also serves as the organization’s fiscal sponsor.

 


 

Milwaukee Common Council passes resolution in support of Local First Milwaukee

Milwaukee (July 2, 2013)  – Hoping to educate the public about the benefits of supporting local merchants and manufacturers, the Milwaukee Common Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting Local First Milwaukee on June 11.

Local First Milwaukee is a business alliance of independent, locally-owned businesses and non-profit organizations within the five-county Milwaukee metropolitan area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha counties) aimed at bolstering the local economy. It works to educate the community on the impact of thinking local first.

Sponsored by Alderman Tony Zielinski, the resolution pledges Milwaukee’s backing of the effort, and appropriates $100 for the city’s 2013 membership in the organization as a Hometown Friend.

“It’s important to demonstrate to the public the importance of buying local and how to go about doing that,” Alderman Zielinski said. “Our collective purchases do make a difference.”

Studies show that Local First networks are engines for economic development. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s survey of 2012 holiday sales found that Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first” initiative run by a local business organization reported average revenue growth of 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative.

A Civic Economics study commissioned by Local First Milwaukee found that if Milwaukeeans shift 10% of their shopping and dining from national chains to local businesses, they would create $311 million in new economic activity in the local economy. That is because independent retailers re-spend about three times as much of each sales dollar locally than their chain competitors, resulting in more jobs and community benefits.

The experience of member Indulgence Chocolatiers illustrates this point. Julie Waterman opened her business in 2007 as the sole employee. She joined Local First shortly after. “Local First offered my new business the legitimacy it needed to create a trusted name in the community,” said Waterman. “The relationships I have established through the organization has allowed us to take our chocolate to a new level and reach groups of potential customers we were not able to reach on our own” Her business has grown 100% each year for the past two years and 2013 is on course to show the same growth, resulting in a move from an industrial park in Waukesha to the new food corridor in Walker’s Point. Her new production facility will include a retail space. The company currently employs eight full-time workers and plans to add four more employees will be added after the Walker’s Point location opens.

Local First Milwaukee appreciates the support of the City of Milwaukee. “The city’s recognition of our work will create awareness of the importance for all - individuals, businesses, and government - to think local first,” said Pam Mehnert, president of the organization. “This is a really important step in the growth of our organization and our ability to reach more people. Together we can have great impact!”
 


 

Local First Milwaukee in the News

Why shop local? Local businesses weigh in, OnMilwaukee.com, May 15, 2013

Groups Push Local Shopping this Holiday Season, WUWM, December 21, 2012

Why buying local is hot, Wisconsin Gazette, December 13, 2013

Local First Milwaukee: Why supporting “local” matters, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, December 6, 2012

Buy Local Gift Fair on tap at Lakefront Brewery, jsonline.com, December 2, 2012

The Other Holiday Shopping Guide, MilwaukeeMag.com, November 20, 2012

Milwaukee-area Retailers Return More Cash to the Community, The Business Journal of Greater Milwaukee, November 16, 2012

Four New Economic Studies Find Indies Have a Bigger Impact, Bookselling This Week, October 25, 2012

 


 

LOCAL FIRST MILWAUKEE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
AND RELEASES ECONOMIC IMPACTS STUDY


Milwaukee, WI  (November 16, 2012) – Local First Milwaukee, a membership alliance committed to supporting local, independent businesses and organizations, recently launched a new website – www.localfirstmilwaukee.com – creating a hub of local retailers, restaurants, service providers and more.

  • Some of the website features include:

  • robust directory, sorted by category

  • map for geographic searches

  • member profile pages with locations, events, offers, and social links

  • member offers by category and events by date

  • information about the local movement and the impacts of supporting local

In order to appear on the site, businesses must meet criteria established by Local First, including local ownership, headquarters and decision-making. Any business within the 5-county metro area that meets these criteria can be listed on the site; paid members receive additional benefits, including profile pages and the ability to post offers, events and news.

Visitors to the site can be certain that all business and organizations listed are truly local, and if they choose to support them, more of their money will stay in the local economy. The fact that supporting local businesses results in greater economic activity was proven in a recent study conducted by Civic Economics for Local First Milwaukee and Boswell Book Company. The study showed that if Milwaukee consumers shift 10% of their shopping and dining from national chains to local businesses, they would create $311 million in new economic activity in our local economy. That is because independent retailers re-spend about three times as much of each sales dollar locally than their chain competitors, resulting in more jobs and community benefits - keeping Milwaukee unique! A summary of the study can be read here.

The economic study and new website were supported by a $20,000 grant to the organization from founding member Outpost Natural Foods. Byte Studios, a Local First member, designed and developed the site.

“All of the enhancements to our site make it easier for Milwaukeeans to think local first, which is a goal of our organization,” said Local First President, Pam Mehnert, who is also General Manager of Outpost Natural Foods. “It’s where local lives.”

Local First Milwaukee's message is simple: choose local first and watch the community prosper. To support its mission, the organization will be hosting a Buy Local Gift Fair at Lakefront Brewery on December 9. Local First MIlwaukee currently has 240 members and is a member of BALLE, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

 


 

LOCAL FIRST MILWAUKEE HOSTS BUY LOCAL GIFT FAIR
Keep Your Dollars Here This Holiday Season

Sunday, December 9, 2012 | Noon – 4 p.m.
Lakefront Brewery Palm Garden
1872 North Commerce Street  Milwaukee

 

Free admission
40 LOCAL vendors under one roof!
Free brewery tours at 12:30 • 1:30 • 2:30
Beer and other beverages available for purchase from Lakefront Brewery
Food available for purchase from a variety of vendors

Local First Milwaukee is once again making it easy for consumers to shop local and find unique gifts by bringing over 40 independent vendors under one roof. At the Buy Local Gift Fair, attendees will find items from food artisans Indulgence Chocolatiers and Bolzano Artisan Meats and jewelry at Sarah B Flanagan and Bentley's One of A Kind. There will be gifts for the little ones from My Kids Lids and for furry friends from the Wisconsin Humane Society. Those looking for something that says Milwaukee should be sure to stop at HANmade Milwaukee and CityTIns. As in past years, a number of nonprofits, including Milwaukee Empty Bowls and Walnut Way, will be offering alternative gift giving opportunities. View a complete vendor list.

"Over 1200 people attended last year's event, double the previous year," said Nancy Quinn, Managing Director of Local First Milwaukee, a membership alliance that supports local, independent businesses. "The turn out, the fun atmosphere - and let's not forget the beer! - help make this a real community event."

Lakefront Brewery and Outpost Natural Foods are sponsors of the fair.

 


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