Submitted by: Sustainable Connections
Every July, Sustainable Connections joins other local alliances and partner organizations nationwide to celebrate independent businesses throughout Whatcom and Skagit County for Independents Month. Thousands of independent business owners and citizens collaborate to honor the value of small businesses, which are the heartbeat of our neighborhoods, the backbone of our local economy, and the spirit of our towns. We invite our community to make merry like locals by attending neighborhood events and winning prizes from local businesses throughout the month.
This year’s month-long celebration includes a Think Local First Rock Hunt with prizes starting July 1. More than 75 red, navy, and light blue rocks have been hidden throughout Whatcom & Skagit County, with the help of local businesses. Find one inside your favorite local shop, a public park or space, on the top of Mt. Baker, or nestled on the shore of your favorite swimming hole. On the back of each rock are simple instructions for redeeming a local prize. Each prize is an opportunity to enjoy and discover the bounty that local businesses have to offer.
Local businesses are one of the biggest generators of wealth in the community: each dollar spent at an independent business returns three times more money to our local economy compared to one spent at a chain. Local businesses also tend to give twice as much to community causes and non-profits, and, when compared to Amazon, they create two times as many jobs for the same amount of revenue. Towns that have more local businesses also experience more social cohesion and less income inequality5. In addition, the shorter transit routes and bulk ordering that bring goods to the consumer via local businesses also mean less packaging and mileage, minimizing waste and carbon emissions, and creating less air and noise pollution6.
But the best part of buying local: the little happy dance that each independent business owner does when they make a sale. For all these reasons and more, “we invite the community to shop at the vast array of wonderfully unique retailers, restaurants, and businesses in Whatcom and Skagit County, and commit to shopping local this month,” says Becca Weathers, Think Local First Manager for Sustainable Connections. “By shopping local you’re supporting the vitality and quality of life in our community.”
Join us to discover new local businesses, and win prizes. Find local events happening in July, as well as more information about the Think Local First Rock Hunt at thinklocal.rocks.
Independents Month and Sustainable Connections’ Think Local First Campaign is sponsored by the City of Bellingham, Village Books and Paper Dreams, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Cascadia Weekly, Lithtex NW Printing Solutions, Mount Baker Care Center, Samuel’s Furniture, Bellingham Nissan, and Fairhaven Runners & Walkers.