Local First promotes Independents Week to support area businesses

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Brewery Vivant Courtesy Brewery Vivant

Local First is participating in a national initiative during the holiday week to celebrate small businesses.

From Monday to Sunday, the Grand Rapids-based economic development nonprofit is championing area companies through Independents Week, an event that encourages the community to shop locally through a variety of action steps and discounts.

“In a year where we’ve been more isolated than not, Local First is proud to champion the businesses centering people and our place in order to create opportunity, putting our dollars to work locally and building a more self-reliant economy,” the organization wrote in a blog post about the event. “Locally owned businesses — those that are owned and operated by a person or persons in the community served, headquartered in the same community and are privately held — are the backbone of our community. Help us celebrate them during Independents Week.”

Independents Week — a second annual event for Local First — will include a bingo game contest with a variety of actionable ways to shift spending to locally owned businesses in Grand Rapids and along the lakeshore, diverse business events and discounts, opportunities for people to connect with their nearest Main Street business corridor and ways to get social and dig deeper.

Bingo

Players will complete lakeshore action items and mark them on a Bingo card to create a full row (five action items connected to form a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line). When a player’s card is full, they can share it with Local First on Instagram — tagging @localfirstwestmi and @downtownholland, as well as the businesses they supported, using the hashtag #IndependentsWeek — or they can email membership@localfirst.com with their completed card. They will then be entered to win a gift card provided by Downtown Holland. The winner will be announced July 5.

Those who wish to play can access the Bingo card in English or Spanish.

Local businesses, events and discounts

The Local First Online Directory features local businesses throughout West Michigan. People can search by keyword, business type, neighborhood or ownership type to find new businesses and their current discounts and events. Local First’s community calendar also provides an overview of current events offered by its member businesses.

Connect with Main Street  

When residents buy local, their dollars go toward improving the lives of neighbors and making the community more circular and sustainable. People can use their dollars kindly and wisely by exploring their nearest Main Street business corridor and searching business directories available at organizations such as Local First West Michigan, Uptown Grand Rapids, Downtown Holland, GRABB and the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Social steps

People can add a Facebook profile frame by navigating to their profile, hovering over their profile picture and clicking “update,” then “add frame,” then searching “Independents Week” to select the frame created by Local First West Michigan for Independents Week.

On Instagram, they can shout out their favorite local businesses with Local First’s “tag your favorite local” Instagram story panel and challenge their friends to do the same. Using this image in their stories, they can tag the businesses they love and their friends, so they can reshare and pass it along. The Instagram story panels are available in English or Spanish.

Digging deeper 

In addition to the above ways of participating in Independents Week, community members can advocate for policies that support local, independent businesses with Small Business Rising, a coalition of independent businesses standing up for a level playing field. The group is urging elected leaders to break the power of monopolies and safeguard businesses’ right to compete and serve the needs of their communities. People can share their Small Business Rising support with these tools.

Listen and learn

The following educational audio resources are available for those who wish to learn more:

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