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Local First History in Brief


Picture of Local Vendor holding sign that says Shop Local

Local independent business owners recognized that they were facing unprecedented competition from larger chain competitors, internet merchants, and franchises whose branding power operated on a large scale. 

Looking to the future, a group of local business owners formed an association whose business it would be to educate, advocate, and create an awareness of the value of shopping local. 

The group understood that it was important to support unique businesses who provide meaningful service with a personal touch, and whose owners invest their lives into the community. 

To bring a voice to Springfield merchants and businesses, Local First Springfield was founded in 2008 to encourage consumers to look to local, independent businesses FIRST.

Why Buy Local?


Educate Consumers

Through extensive research we know that many consumers do not know why thinking and buying local matters.  With just 20% of the population committed to the Local First cause and 20% not caring about the local message, we have a significant opportunity to influence change and purchasing habits with the remaining 60% of consumers.  We need to let them know that 45% of every dollar spent with a local business stays within the local market, while only 13% at a chain operation stays local.  Through education, we can work together with neighbors, friends, and other community members to positively impact the local economy one purchase at a time.


Make Business-to-Business Spending Local

We encourage business owners to think where their business currently spends budgeted funds and modify them to purchase those items locally first.  By simply switching even $100 a month of spending in 2-3 categories to a local firm versus a national chain, they could have a huge impact on local business.  Businesses need to be willing to do what they ask consumers to do: Think Local First.


Advocate for Members

Local First works with community groups and public officials to improve the local economy by expanding jobs, increasing revenue and awareness of our message to THINK LOCAL FIRST.  We will do our part to invest in economic studies and make a concerted effort to educate local officials about the many economic benefits of purchasing with a “Local First” mindset.

Picture of consumer buying material
Picture of an 'OPEN' sign
Picture of a rack of clothes in a store


Board of Directors

The Local First Springfield Board of Directors is committed to helping independent, local businesses and their owners. 


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Bill McMahon


PRESIDENT
Val Yazell


VICE PRESIDENT
Desiree Logsdon

TREASURER
Michelle Steckel


SECRETARY
Cathy Sagle


MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR
LaShonda Fitch

BOARD MEMBERS AT LARGE

Michael Higgins
Sheila Feipel
Jen Tibbs-Berle

Shayne Squires
Diane Beauchamp
Jessica Weitzel



LOCAL FIRST SPRINGFIELD SPONSORS



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