Local First Home
    become a member

    Your financial support helps Local First Chicago fulfill its mission to educate citizens, community groups, and policy makers on the positive and enduring economic, social and environmental impacts of local, independently owned businesses.

    To help further spread this message, LFC makes the following available to all Chicago local independently owned businesses:
    • Unlimited use of the LFC logo to show your wide support for our mission
    • An LFC decal to display at your front entrance identifying you as a true local business
    • Inclusion in LFC's online community with a link to your website
    • A marketing kit that makes it easy for you to participate in our city-wide educational Unwrap Chicago holiday campaign and other buy local campaigns
    newsletter sign-up

    Chicago Businesses Benefit from “Buy Local First” Campaigns - 03/07/13

    Press Release
    Date: March 7, 2013
    Suzanne Keers, Executive Director                                  

    Data Shows That Chicago Businesses Benefit from “Buy Local First” Campaigns
    National Survey Reveals Progress and Challenges.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Chicago) A recent survey of independent businesses showed that Buy Local campaigns have a positive impact on businesses and that public awareness of the benefits of locally owned businesses is increasing.  At the same time, businesses reported challenges including difficultly accessing capital and a customer base still reeling from the recession.

    This was the sixth annual post-holiday survey of independent businesses conducted by the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) and it tallied responses from 2377 businesses, all independent and locally-owned, across all 50 states. About half were retailers.  Local First Chicago along with dozens of neighborhood partners has produced a Buy Local campaign called “Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink & Buy Local” for the last 3 years.  Chicago businesses were encouraged to respond to the ILSR survey and Local First Chicago was able to obtain a Chicago break-out of results. 

    Key findings from the survey include:·        
    • Independent businesses in communities with an active “buy local first” initiative run by a local business organization reported average revenue growth of 8.6% in 2012, compared to 3.4% for those in areas without such an initiative.  Chicago businesses reported an average revenue growth of 8%.      
    • A majority of the survey respondents, 68% nationally and in Chicago, reported that public awareness of benefits of supporting locally owned business had increased in the last year.     
    • Lack of financing was a top challenge with 23% businesses surveyed reporting that they had been unable to secure a needed bank loan for their business in the last two years.  Chicago’s results in this area were worse than the national average.  36% of Chicago businesses surveyed reported difficulties obtaining financing.
    Chicago specific results include:·        
    • 61% of businesses felt the Unwrap Chicago campaign increased local media coverage of independent businesses. 
    • 57% said it made City officials more aware and supportive of independent business.
    • 83% felt that the fact that their business was locally owned mattered to some or most of their customers.
    For more information on the survey and to download a copy of the results, visit the ILSR website

    “The “Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink & Buy Local” campaigns have made a lot of progress in raising public awareness of the need to support our local businesses, but Chicago local businesses still face major hurdles with large competitors moving in and lack of access to traditional financing.  Local First Chicago is committed raising awareness of these issues and ensuring our local businesses grow and thrive.” said Peter Locke, Board President of Local First Chicago.

    The 2012 “Unwrap Chicago: Eat, Drink & Buy Local”, campaign included partners from throughout the city, including the Office of the City Treasurer, the Department of Housing and Economic Development, Choose Chicago, Blacks In Green, 42 neighborhood business member organizations and hundreds of locally owned independent businesses.  The campaign seeks to build a new Chicago tradition that strengthens our economy, expands employment, nurtures a sense of community, and provides a more relaxed, fun, and rewarding holiday experience.

    Local First Chicago is a network of locally-owned, independent businesses, non-profits, and community members joined together in the belief that locally-owned independent businesses are a crucial feature of economically and environmentally sustainable neighborhoods.  www.localfirstchicago.org

    Campaign Supporting Partners included: Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, West Town Chamber of Commerce, Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, Old Town Merchants & Residents Association, Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, Wicker Park-Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, South East Chicago Commission, Fulton River District Association, Northalsted Business Alliance, Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Little Village Chamber of Commerce.

    # # # # #