A Brief History of Think Local First
In the spring of 2007, a half dozen Santa Cruz business owners came together around a common concern: the global trend of proliferating chain stores and easy online shopping. In an era where downtown shopping districts increasingly fall victim to homogenous chains and franchises, they collectively recognized the need to promote and strengthen our locally owned business community.
Over the summer, Think Local First – County of Santa Cruz formed around its mission to “promote and sustain economic vitality while preserving the unique character of Santa Cruz County.” If the community rallied around locally owned businesses, the thinking went, everyone would benefit: locally owned business would prosper and circulate money within the community, which in turn promotes more local spending, benefits local infrastructure, and maintains a vibrant and healthy community.
Think Local First is a volunteer organization, and there was no guarantee the time and effort would pay off. But the handful of people who initiated the movement didn’t have to look far for inspiration. In 2005, Kepler’s Books, the famous Menlo Park book emporium, abruptly shut its doors, having lost too many sales to chains and on-line bookstores to continue. In an unexpected outpouring of support, the community came forth with donations, a plan and a new board of directors. Within six weeks Kepler’s was open again, and today it remains a vibrant hub of Peninsula cultural life.
Think Local First – County of Santa Cruz has seen a similarly successful surge in community interest. Its first public meeting, hosted by a half-dozen members, took place at Bookshop Santa Cruz in October 2007. Five years later, it claims over 630 members, all of whom understand the link between a unique, thriving local economy and a unique, thriving locale. It’s a simple concept, really: what goes around, comes around. It’s about creating our community together!
Plans for 2013
The Think Local First board has outlined a tangible roadmap to develop community awareness. Please check back soon for more details!
Contacting Think Local First
For more information about Think Local First – County of Santa Cruz, please send us an email with your contact information, and a representative will respond promptly.
To become a member, please review the criteria and complete the Application Form on the Join the Movement page.