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

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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September 5, 2023

Happy Hispanic & Latin Heritage Month

Happy Hispanic and Latin Heritage Month! We are so privileged to have such a robust and bright Hispanic and Latin…
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August 15, 2023

Supporting Local Businesses to Create a Vibrant & Welcoming Downtown

In 2018, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc (DGRI) launched the Retail Business Incubation Program to attract new businesses and begin filling…
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August 13, 2023

The People Behind People First Economy

At People First Economy we believe in taking a human-centered approach in all of our programs. And that approach starts…
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August 7, 2023

Travel Like a Localist

How did I travel Boise, Idaho like a localist? Hi, I am Kathleen (People First Economy's Director of Engagement) and…
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July 12, 2023

The Ultimate West Michigan Staycation Guide

When was the last time you were a tourist in your town? Hi friends, I’m Victoria Munro, People First Economy’s…
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July 11, 2023

Close the Dark Store Loophole

How do we fix the damn roads with a persistent 3.9 billion funding gap each year? Or properly resource our…
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July 7, 2023

The Small Business Role in Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Whether your employees or customers know it: their prescription drug costs increased nearly 60% while their incomes increased about 11%.…
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June 14, 2023

Local First Workshop Recap: Building Wealth & Impact in Your Small Business

Succession, exit, growth planning... These are plans that all business owners must navigate. With daily administrative and operational tasks easily…
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