Somerville Local First

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Shift Your Shopping

Shift Your Shopping is an initiative built on the same ideas as the 10% Shift Campaign – from Independence Day & beyond we encourage you to make the 10% Shift by buying local for the holiday season. Buying local for everyday expenses is important but you can also support Local Independents when buying gifts for family and friends. Let your gifts do double duty by supporting the local Somerville economy this holiday season.

This campaign was inspired specifically by the Thinking Outside the Box study from Civic Economics, showing the tremendous role local businesses played in the rejuvenation of New Orleans when non-local businesses stayed away.

Ready to Shift in Somerville but unsure of where to do your gift buying? The Shift Your Shopping web site has an excellent guide to all types of local businesses in the Somerville and Cambridge areas for all of your shopping needs.

On To The Next One ~ What’s Coming Up @ SLF

by Joe Grafton

When our blog team got together last Saturday, we decided it might be a good idea to have me write a post about what’s coming up at Somerville Local First.  As usual, that’s anything but a short answer.

Before I get there, however, I thought I’d share this, the SLF Logic Model.

SLF Logic Model - Thanks to Ariel Harms

SLF Logic Model - Thanks to Ariel Harms

So, this looks really complicated, I know.  But that’s because our work is complicated.  I am posting this simply to show you that, while its always very much about the ‘next thing‘ at SLF, our efforts and programs are bound together strategically.

And so what exactly are we up to next?  Well…..

SHIFT YOUR SHOPPING (November/December)

This holiday season is crucial for local businesses.  And I think its safe to say that this year is the most critical I’ve seen in my time doing this work.  Working with and speaking to business owners on a daily basis, it seems like our local economy has slowed in the past few months.  Many businesses have confided in me that they are concerned if they can’t make it work this holiday season, they won’t be able to survive.

So with this in mind, SLF will launch our 2nd annual holiday shopping campaign, Shift Your Shopping.

You'll see a refreshed series of posters/postcards designed by Oat again this year.

You'll see a refreshed series of posters/postcards designed by Oat again this year.

Shift Your Shopping will feature:

-A robust online content plan that will offer a TON of info on where you can do your holiday shopping.  We’ll incorporate photos, maybe video, shopping lists, event promotions and more.

-The launch of our Mobile Deals application for iPhone and Android users.  By accessing our site, you’ll be able to see real-time offers from our members to save you money as you make the Shift.

-A collaboration with other Somerville organizations to create/promote - ShiftYourShopAPalooza on 12/4 & 5.

-The introduction of “Plaid Friday”, a viral, social media campaign designed to help communities understand the importance, and advantages, to remaining far away from the consumerist driven “Black Friday” concept.

-A campaign themed scavenger hunt!

-Some surprises  !!

Where The Locals Go Coupon Book  (January)

Last year, the City of Somerville was gracious and crucial in helping build SLF capacity by sponsoring our innagural Coupon Book.  As with everything we’ve done, the first year of the project helped us learn and year two is primed for improvement.

We learned some things in our first year...

We learned some things in our first year...

So we are pleased to announce that in January, 2011. Somerville Local First will be collaborating with our sister organization, Cambridge Local First to produce the Where The Local Go coupon book.

Sneak Preview - Here's what the cover of this years book will look like though we're still revising/improving

Sneak Preview - Here's what the cover of this years book will look like though we're still revising/improving

The book will be for sale this year, and will be a key fundraising tool for SLF & CLF.  For only $10, you will get a book filled with approx 100 coupons, valued at approximately $1,000.  Best yet, this project helps demonstrate to both of our communities that buying local is important, wherever you are, and that local economies don’t stop at the border of each city.

I’ll close with a phrase common amongst our organizer friends….Next Thing!

Originally posted on...November 10th, 2010

The Relaunch of the Somerville Local First Website - A resource to find Locally Owned and Independent Businesses in Somerville

Welcome to the new SLF website!  We’re excited to completely relaunch our web presence in an effort to better promote the local movement and our members. At the same time, we hope to engage in meaningful dialogue with you, our fellow community members.

This site is intended to serve as a community resource: a place for learning and discussion.  To help you continue  to Shift your Shopping to local and independent businesses, we are incorporating a number of new features:

  • The SLF Blog – Our new blog based site will feature wide ranging contributions every week from many different sources, including:
    • SLF Staff, Interns and Board of Directors
    • SLF Members – entrepreneurs, artists and nonprofit directors
    • Community Bloggers – community members who are passionate about ‘local’ and want to share their Somerville stories
    • National Experts – people around the country who are working to build strong local living economies
    • Multimedia galore!  - We’ll be posting photos, reviews, videos and more to the site in the coming months.  We hope these tools will continue to build the awareness and behavior change we need to take our movement to the next level.
    • Campaign and Event pages – We’ll have living pages dedicated to the 10% Shift, Shift your Shopping, Move Your Money, Harvest Fest and SomerFun, which will be updated throughout the year.
    • Tweets from around the ‘ville – A live-updating tweet list of SLF members and SLF partners
    • A more active and engaging set of content about the Local Movement, here in Somerville and beyond
    • Shift & Save coupons!  - Want to buy local?  Want to save money?  Then buy Shift & Save coupons from the SLF website.  These coupons get you great deals from our members and help provide much needed capital to the SLF organization.  COMING SOON!
    • Real time, location based mobile coupons on your smartphone!  - SLF has partnered to pilot a location based coupon system for iPhone and Android users.  Simply come to our home page, click on the Mobile App widget from anywhere in Somerville, and see offers from our members in real time.  COMING SOON!
    • An easy way to JOIN SLF – We now have membership categories for businesses, artists, nonprofits and community members.  Each community can easily join our growing network and become part of the movement to build and sustain our local economy in Somerville.

This is just the first step to developing a community resource for local economies like no other.  We want to know what you think…in fact, one of the main reasons why we chose this format was to create and foster dialogue.  So if there’s something you’d like to see, something you like (or don’t like), please let us know.

Stay tuned this week for daily blog posts, including the beginning of a video series on SLF developed by Street Attack. We will also be hearing from our first Community Bloggers and providing more details on our Shift & Save coupons and mobile applications!

Shift Happens


Originally posted on...July 19th, 2010

Get Your Shift Together for the Holidays

by Rachel Oldfield

“Losing sight of what’s important” during the holiday season is an oft-heard phrase. From having the wildest July 4th party to presenting the most elaborate Thanksgiving dinner possible to making sure the in-laws are impressed by your Christmas cheer, holidays and gift-giving can be warped from the warm, meaningful experiences they are supposed to be (examples here and here - Editors Note the 2nd link is to Amazon, but you can ask Harvard Bookstore to order if for you instead). The fact that most magazines feature cover stories with the words “holidays” and “stress” in the same headline around the months of November and December is a testament to the reality of this time of the year.

Yet usually when one refers to divergence from the true holiday spirit, it is in reference to a heavy focus on materialism instead of spending time with one’s family or appreciating what one already has. There is, however, more than one meaning of this idea. In some form or another, the holidays we celebrate all come down to the honoring of values – American or family, Christian or not. When we give gifts to our loved ones, we think of the joy it is bringing them. But do we think about the values are gift-buying is promoting, and the external impacts of these purchases?

The truth is, our gift giving and holiday preparation can celebrate these values, bringing joy and making a tremendous difference not just to the people for whom they’re intended. Where you shop also makes a difference for your entire community. Studies have shown that when you spend locally, because of the multiplier effect, more of that money will stay in the local community than when you purchase from non-local businesses. More of this money circulated regionally instead of nationally creates more vibrant local communities – more jobs, more money in economic activity, new entrepreneurial ventures – that can be woven together to form an economically stable nation.

The holiday season is extremely important for retailers every year, as revenue from that period could represent up to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. Each fall the media floods the news with stories of predicted sales booms and busts, covering the one-month period between Thanksgiving and Christmas like it were the Super Bowl. And while chains and conglomerates have some wiggle room for “bust” holiday years, Local Independents (those are businesses that are privately held and locally operated) rely heavily on your patronage to stay in business and keep your community strong and dynamic.

If you already practice local spending or have not yet tried to make the shift, doing more of your shopping at Local Independents during the holiday season can be an easy and concrete way to contribute to your community’s economic wellbeing. And it doesn’t have to be hard – why not give your aunt a massage from a local spa, your dad a gift certificate to the nearby barbecue restaurant, or your niece a handmade bracelet from a local crafts store? I would rather get a gift certificate to Redbones than a pair of new socks any day. Plus, aren’t those unique gifts always the more memorable ones ?

As Americans all across the country join together in a spirit of cooperation and rebuilding, it seems that many are starting to recognize the importance of local shopping. Not only did cities where active Local First campaigns exist report a less severe drop in sales in 2007 than those without (3.2 percent compared to 5.6), but 95 percent of retailers surveyed said the fact that their business is locally owned matters to their customers (up from 82 percent in the survey the year before). Clearly more and more people are beginning to recognize the importance in choosing to shop locally. We invite you to become one of those people.

Originally posted on...July 18th, 2010

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