Local First Blog

Coffee Hour is Back!

Jan 11, 2021 5:04:03 PM / by Local First posted in Inclusive Economy

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Coffee Hour is back in partnership with Bloom Credit Union!

Whew, we're so glad to have 2020 in our rearview! But if we learned anything from last year, it's the value of community and our need to connect. While Local First could not hold our in-person events (like bringing hundreds of people together to sample bites from dozens of local food businesses, enjoying live music and beautiful art, and networking together at a local business), we were and are able to keep our members connected and the conversation flowing. 

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7 Ways to Safely Support West MI Local Food Businesses this Winter

Nov 30, 2020 9:18:39 AM / by Emma Bauchamp posted in Eat Local, Local Business

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Winter is coming and, with it, local food businesses are bracing for impact. As we cozy up and stay safe at home, our beloved restaurants and shops are navigating the need to pivot, yet again. “There's an upcoming season of hustling hard, reinventing, celebrating small joys, and unfortunately, suffering some substantial losses,” says Lauren Bloom of Blom Meadworks

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Safety Protocols for Small Businesses

Nov 19, 2020 1:43:01 PM / by Local First posted in Local Business

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With court rulings impacting safety protocols for small businesses and changing reports on how Michigan businesses are expected to operate, it's fair to say, 2020 has been a year full of change and confusion.

Here is what we know for sure: starting November 18th, Michigan will Pause to Save Lives. 

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Stock up at Martha's Vineyard

Nov 16, 2020 11:05:00 AM / by Local First posted in Holiday, Local Business

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Photos sponsored by Corriveau Photography

Our Grand Rapids area feature is Martha’s Vineyard and its child companies. This unique collection of businesses takes up a block in the Heritage Hill neighborhood and is a healthy mix of made-in-Michigan products, house-made edibles, and goods from around the world.
Second generation leader, Ilana Chamelly, sat down with Local First to share their story.

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The 2020 Holi-DAZE are here!

Nov 3, 2020 4:30:21 PM / by Local First posted in Holiday, Inclusive Economy

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Fall and winter are busy times for all of us. Between year-end bookkeeping, social (distance) engagements, busy storefront hours, and personal holiday shopping, it's no wonder these months fly by. And this year is no exception - plus we have the added stress of rapidly changing safety precautions. It's enough to overwhelm anyone. But it doesn't have to be when we take advantage of our community resources! 

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All you need to know about the new localfirst.com

Oct 1, 2020 9:20:51 AM / by Local First

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The Local First team has been dreaming and scheming of the day we could build a more robust and modern localfirst.com to champion our local business members across West Michigan. After lots of hard work and feedback, it’s finally here!

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Celebrating Virtual Fork Fest: A Guide to Local Food

Sep 25, 2020 2:59:05 PM / by Local First posted in Eat Local

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Food naturally brings people together. Whether it’s making a meal, supporting a farmer, sharing a recipe, or celebrating a special occasion: food is communal. This is what we celebrate at our Fork Fest events. These events showcase West Michigan's agricultural abundance and focus on the relationships that drive our local food systems.

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Marketing Tips: Taste the Local Difference

Sep 14, 2020 1:36:00 PM / by Tricia Phelps posted in Eat Local

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For many small businesses, the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown any marketing plans you had out the window -- but that doesn’t mean you should just give up. Marketing through the pandemic remains a priority in your operations as we evolve through the good, the bad, and these challenging times. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

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When putting Local First isn’t an option

Sep 1, 2020 12:00:00 AM / by Local First

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Local First is proud to represent hundreds of locally-owned companies in West Michigan. We encourage residents and visitors to support these businesses and for our members to source from one another. But sometimes, there isn't a local solution. This is why we say “local first” – not “local only.” We know that from time to time, a local option just isn’t available.  

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Celebrate our local, independent businesses!

Jun 15, 2020 10:56:00 AM / by Local First posted in Local Business

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Independents Week: June 27 to July 4

Locally-owned, independent businesses are the backbone of our community. And they need us more than ever right now. Help us celebrate them during Independents Week!

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