Introducing CLF Localist Memberships

By Christina Ru, July 30, 2020.

Harvard Square Is a Ghost Town Without Students | Scout Cambridge

Small businesses are struggling all over the country. As all business plummeted in March, small business owners began to fret. They knew that they were in a harder position than national companies or chains. For starters, small businesses tend to operate with much less cushion in their accounts. They have fewer costs that they can cut when things get hard. Finally, they rely on community relationships to do business. 

When lockdown orders went into effect, small businesses lost their connections to customers. These businesses have been forced to make difficult decisions–to try to keep swimming with no end to the virus in sight, or to shut down for what many of them is, their lifelong dream. Now, businesses and customers alike are looking for ways to connect. This is where Cambridge Local First’s new Community membership comes in. 

CLF released its inaugural community membership program this week. They invite anyone (and everyone) who is part of the local Cambridge community to join as a Localist. To a community of local business owners who have given so much, it’s time for the community to step up and contribute to the resilience of our independent business ecosystem. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat. In CLF’s weekly Community Conversations, small business owners have shared how they’ve adjusted to the new normal, but with no definite end in sight to the pandemic, many are losing hope. 

“We’ve been hit hard, and lost many, many hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales,” Michael Kanter, of Cambridge Naturals, said. Rachael Solem of Irving House at Harvard also notes $200,000 lost in refunded deposits over the past four months. The loss of tourists has been devastating for many businesses, and even local residents have been leaving the area. Kanter also notes that “a whole lot of people in the area have left town…for their homes on Cape Cod or Maine or Vermont.” The mass exodus of people from Cambridge has left a hole in local businesses. 

CLF is a grassroots and community organization, a non-profit network of over 450 local and independent businesses. They’ve been working hard to provide meaningful small business assistance, education to the public, and advocacy. They are determined to support Cambridge’s local businesses, but can’t do it alone. 

Community memberships are paid annually, and they support state and local advocacy efforts, operations costs like web hosting, and more importantly, small business assistance to independent, local business owners who are in need of support now. 

Community memberships also put power in your hands. Through newsletters, promotions, and access to members-only educational events, membership gives you the tools you need to become a powerful ally to local businesses. 

Business memberships are also available. Businesses get access to inclusion in our online business directory, high-quality small business assistance, marketing and promotion opportunities, advocacy efforts, and more. 

Cambridge Local First