Cambridge Local First (CLF) is a non-profit network of locally-owned, independent businesses in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the mission of supporting and promoting a thriving, equitable local economy through (1) public education and engagement about the significant environmental, economic, and cultural benefits of a strong local economy, (2) policy advocacy, and (3) direct technical assistance to local businesses.

We do this by:

  • Raising the awareness of consumers, businesses, and government agencies about the benefits of purchasing from locally owned businesses.
  • Bringing together independent businesses for mutual benefit and networking opportunities.
  • Supporting Cambridge ordinances and regulations that promote locally owned businesses.
  • Creating campaigns and initiatives to promote local spending.
  • Provide education and training for members on a variety of current topics.

Why we do this:

  • Build Community: The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood–scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. They’re the ultimate social networking sites!
  • Strengthen Our Local Economy: Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (hundreds of times more than online purchases).
  • Shape Our Character:Independent businesses help give your community its distinct personality.
  • Create a Healthier Environment: Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution.
  • Lower Taxes: More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses keeps your taxes lower
  • Enhance Choices: A wide variety of independent businesses, each serving their customers’ tastes, creates greater overall choice for all of us. 
  • Create Jobs and Opportunities: Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs. 
  • Give Back to our Community: Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses
  • Increase Wealth of Residents: The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
  • Enhance Health of our Residents: Studies show strong correlation between the percentage of small locally-owned firms and various indicators of personal and community health and vitality
Cambridge Local First