Think Local First

Each one of us has an important role to play in creating a vibrant community and healthy economy that works for all of us. Our everyday decisions have powerful impacts, especially when it comes to the businesses we support. There are many ways to be a localist but the simplest is to start with a commitment to always think local first. Think Local First makes it easy to find what you need locally, celebrate the place we live, and put what matters most first. Keep your dollars where your heart lives, support your community, and build an economy that works for everyone by choosing local first!


Find Local Businesses

Why Buy Local?

“Local, independently owned businesses are creating quality jobs and stronger communities everywhere, at a faster clip than large corporations. Beyond that, each dollar that is spent with a local business has a multiplier effect as it recirculates within your community — creating more quality jobs and greater stability as more of your family, friends and neighbors benefit.

We’ve all seen it happen. Big box retail stores come into smaller markets, mom and pop businesses close down, vibrant and unique retail stores give away to sprawl and sameness.

Once economic action turns local, trends begin to reverse. Sustainable quality jobs begin to return to communities. Communities once again become hubs for commerce and innovation.” – Balle

Local Gift Guide

We’ve taken the guesswork out of searching for the perfect gifts from locally owned businesses!

Holiday Hangover

Keep thinking about local businesses after the holidays to help invest in a future that works for us all!

Local Coupons

Access tons of local coupons on your phone through the Chinook Book app!

Over 400 Local Members

Running your own business can be overwhelming! We understand that small businesses are the heart and soul of our community. Businesses like yours are the landmarks that create a sense of culture and provide unique experiences that make locals proud to call the pacific Northwest home. From our resources for small business owners, to our broad network of like-minded entrepreneurs, you’ll find the support you need at Sustainable Connections.

Why Local Matters

Small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities that are more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected, and generally better off across a wide range of metrics. Don’t just take our word for it, thought. Learn more about the studies that have been done and why local matters.


Net New Jobs

Up to 90% of net new jobs in the U.S. are created by locally-owned businesses.


Remains Here

For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $43 remains in the economy.


Fewer automobile miles

Residents of neighborhoods with the most local businesses log 26% fewer automobile miles.

Many don’t realize that “small” business is actually really big, and getting bigger.

Local isn’t just a place on a map. It’s people: your neighbors and their families, their businesses, farms, nonprofits, events, and recreational venues.

By sourcing more products and services locally, we are voting with our dollars every day to live in a state that values self-reliant local communities that offer opportunity and prosperity for all.

Annual Promotions

Celebrate your Independents!

For the whole month of July, we celebrate local, independent businesses. By making the choice to support local businesses we are also supporting local jobs, supporting the variety that keeps our place interesting and fun, keeping more of our money recirculating right here in our own cities and towns, reducing environmental impacts, and supporting businesses that give back.

Think Local for the Holidays

This may be the number one way to enjoy your holiday shopping! Find the perfect gift and strengthen our community all at the same time. Peruse welcoming and unique shops with knowledgeable staff, maybe with a pastry from the bakery down the street! Feel good about getting that one-of-a-kind gift for your special someone while supporting our neighbors and local economy all at the same time. It beats the long lines and crazy crowds hands down!

Local Champions Blog

Our community is full of local champions. Learn about the people behind your favorite local businesses and how they are putting community first.

Cascadia Mushrooms

Healing people and the planet By Alex Smith November 2019 It’s rare that a delicious food can have a positive impact on the environment. As a conscientious consumer, we try to minimize the environmental impact of the food we eat. Tasty, nutritious food that positively...

Complex Conundrums

Complex Conundrums

By Mark Peterson Sustainability pursuits don’t exist in vacuum and despite our hopes and dreams they are still subject to Newton’s 3rd law of Physics. We sometimes refer to this law loosely as action-reaction, where the force exerted is the action and the force...

Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes

In our culture we often shy away from conversations around death and generally don’t talk about it at all, let alone the impacts related to how we end up at our final resting place. In a traditional burial many resources are utilized including reinforced concrete, embalming fluids, steel and hardwoods for caskets and cremation requires fossil fuels. Green burial is part of an ecological restoration and the process and body become a vehicle for restoring a natural ecosystem.

A special thanks to our lead sponsors

City of Bellingham
Village Books & Paper Dreams


Samuel's Furniture
Bellingham Frameworks

Bronze Sponsors

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