Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Michelle Grandy, Communications and Think Local First Manager
Sustainable Connections
360-647-7093 x110

July 2013 is Whatcom Independents Month

Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, WA reveals several plans to celebrate Whatcom Independents Month in July:

The first annual Whatcom Wine and Spirits Fest, a celebration on July 21 at Bellewood Acres, encourages people to Drink Local First. Attendees can enjoy over 40 different local wines and spirits to taste, live music, games and BBQ fare. Tickets are available now online ($20) or at the door ($25) and include a commemorative glass with 8 tasting tickets.

Now in its second year, “Bank Local First” continues to highlight the benefits of moving your money to a locally based community bank or credit union. The organization gives step by step instructions on how to make the switch and provides a directory of local banks and credit unions on their website.

A Spin to Win Sustainable Connections booth will be at the Bellingham Farmer’s Markets on July 6 and July 13. Lucky folks can win copies of the 2013 Where the Locals Go! Coupon Book, bumper stickers, buttons and special prizes donated by local businesses.

A Think Local First Crossword Puzzle can be found on a special Independents Month directory of local, independently owned businesses. The directory will be inserted into the Bellingham Herald and Cascadia Weekly during the month of July. Readers are encouraged to complete the crossword puzzle and submit it to Sustainable Connections for a chance to win tickets to the Whatcom Wine and Spirits Fest. The crossword will be available on their website and a directory of local businesses can always be found there, too.

Every year the Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducts an annual survey of independent businesses across the nation to assess the previous year’s revenue and holiday sales for retailers. Whatcom County businesses participate yearly. Overall, the study found that communities with “buy local first” initiatives run by local business organizations like Sustainable Connections’ “Think Local First” campaign reported average growth of 8.6% vs 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative.

“Our independent businesses contribute to our one-of-a-kind community by providing variety, supporting our well-being, reducing their environmental impact, keeping our dollars recirculating which keeps more money right here in our community strengthening our economy and providing local jobs,” says Michelle Grandy, Think Local First manager at Sustainable Connections. “When the United States celebrates its independence on July 4th, it’s only natural that we celebrate our freedom to choose, including to shop with local, independently owned businesses around Whatcom County, too.”

The Think Local First! campaign is made possible by: City of Bellingham, Village Books, Paper Dreams, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Samuel’s Furniture and Cascadia Weekly, Anderson Paper & Packaging Co., Bay City Supply, Bellingham Farmer’s Market, Bellingham Tennis Club & Fairhaven Fitness, Busara Thai Cuisine, Community Food Co-op, Fairhaven Runners & Walkers, Favinger Plumbing, Lithtex Northwest Printing Solutions, Vacation Land RV, The Chrysalis Inn and Spa, Custom RX Shoppe, Downtown Emporium, Griggs Office Supply, Kulshan Cycles, Mallard Ice Cream & Growing Washington, Rainshield Roofing & Construction Inc. & Handyman Services, Steele Financial Services, Wilson Motors and Wood Stone Corporation.