by Alex Gladu, Independent We Stand
As our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is a melting pot of all the ideas, cultures and industries represented across the country. D.C.’s small business community is the same way. Think Local First D.C. represents and organizes the diverse small businesses in and around the District to make it a better place to live and work for all.
Think Local First D.C. has reflected the District’s diversity since its very beginning. The buy local group was established in 2006 by the Latino Economic Development Corporation (now the Latino Economic Development Center), a non-profit launched more than 20 years ago to help low-income Latinos build assets, in part, through small business development. Think Local First D.C. now helps small business owners of all cultures, backgrounds and socio-economic statuses grow their businesses, no matter what industry they’re in. The group has also aligned with a national buy local group, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), to leverage the support of roughly 20,000 entrepreneurs across the country.
Think Local First D.C. represents businesses ranging from a physical therapy clinic and farmer’s market to a vegan food delivery service and a boutique inspired by the African Diaspora. With such diverse industries and businesses to represent, the group takes several different but like-minded approaches to spreading the idea of buying local throughout the community. For instance, MADE IN DC is the group’s retail- and artisan-driven campaign to showcase D.C.’s creative economy. MADE IN DC provides creators and curators of locally owned goods with retail pop-up opportunities and promotion as a cohesive, identifiable brand. For local musicians, there’s Listen Local First, through which Think Local First D.C. organizes music events for local bands at venues throughout the city. Each month, the group hosts a Local Music Day that highlights the diverse musicians and genres that exist throughout the District.
Despite this diversity, Think Local First D.C. is able to bring its unique members together for their benefit and the community’s benefit. Each year, the group organizes Do Good Week, a celebration of social responsibility in the small business community. The week includes a daylong Do Good Summit that features panels, workshops and discussions designed to teach small business owners how to leave a positive social and environmental footprint on the community. Similarly, Locals Unplugged is the group’s monthly business breakfast that gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to share their stories and learn from others’.
There’s no doubt that cities are stronger when their diverse small businesses can come together in support of each other and the community. Think Local First D.C. celebrates the diversity within the Washington, D.C., business community and unites businesses around social responsibility. For more information, visit www.thinklocalfirstdc.com.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.