When you support local business, you create a healthier community

The Local First program exists to support a People First Economy through local ownership. We do this because communities with higher percentages of locally-owned companies are healthier by nearly every social, environmental, and economic indicator.

Celebrating the Schuler Books anniversary!

Start Thinking Local First

It’s up to all of us to build a thriving local economy.

Local First has a passion for people living and working together in a sustainable community. We lead the development of an economy grounded in local ownership that meets the basic needs of people, builds local wealth and social capital, functions in harmony with our ecosystem, and encourages a joyful community.

Use Our Directory

Bookmark, share, and use the directory as your go-to resource for finding local businesses to support.

Build Community

Check out our events page, our blogs, or donate to help Local First support our local community.

Join as a Business Member

Local First members join a community that supports their business growth. Learn more and get involved.

Creating Accountability

Support Sustainable Business

Every dollar you spend is a vote for the type of world you want. And we’re here to help make those choices more clear. We provide the tools for businesses to measure their own impact. Use the links below to learn about Sustainable Development Goals, B Corps, and how businesses can hold themselves accountable.

Become the change

Building People First Habits

Businesses shape our local economy, but so do we as consumers. People First and Local First help you change your habits, so you can actively participate an economy grounded in local ownership, and create a stronger, healthier community. 

Connect to Your Community

February 6, 2024

Michigan Business Development Group Secures Government Support for Local Entrepreneurs

People First Economy Partners with the Center for Community Based Enterprise, Detroit Community Wealth Fund, and Michigan Center for Employee…
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January 22, 2024

People First Economy Welcomes Carlos Martinez as New President

Transition Marks New Era for Sustainable Economic Development in Michigan People First Economy, a leading organization in fostering sustainable economic…
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November 15, 2023

10 Years of City Building, Prepping for a World of Winter and Shopping Small

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) works with partners Downtown and throughout the community to create a vibrant and welcoming neighborhood…
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November 13, 2023

Your Roadmap to Meaningful Gift Giving

What is the best gift you've ever been given? I'll bet it has a fun backstory! Sitting here, I've caught…
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November 2, 2023

Local First Workshop Recap: Conflict to Conversation

Raise your hand if you've ever been faced with conflict...Okay, now you can put it down. I'm confident in asking…
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October 3, 2023

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. NDEAM celebrates the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities past and present! People…
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September 27, 2023

Michigan Good Food Fund supports food and farm businesses making a positive change.

The work of Michigan Good Food Fund advances a more inclusive, resilient food system by investing in food and farm…
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September 20, 2023

Bridge Street Market is Your Neighborhood Grocery Store

Bridge Street Market is your neighborhood grocery store bringing fresh, affordable, and local products to Grand Rapids’ vibrant West Side…
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September 15, 2023

Fair Food Network believes when you start with food, so much is possible.

Detroit-based nonprofit and investor Fair Food Network is on a mission to build community health and wealth through food. Since…
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September 6, 2023

Michigan’s Food Economy in Action

Food brings people together! Whether it's over soil, tending to seedlings; over the table, passing a plate; or in your…
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