Think Local First

Each one of us has a duty to our community, to help create and sustain a vibrant place to live, work, and play. We can create thriving communities through even the smallest of everyday decisions — especially when it comes to the businesses we support. With a simple commitment to always think local first,  we can create a wide ripple of impact.


Think Local First makes it easy to find what you need locally, celebrate where you live, and put what matters most first. Keep your dollars where your heart lives, support an economy of friends and neighbors, and build a community that thrives by thinking 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

Search for the perfect gift from locally owned businesses with our gift guide!

Local Coupons

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

Local Gift Cards

Give the gift of local to anyone, anytime with Whatcom Gift Cards!

Local Businesses

Find local businesses with our online directory!

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, though. Read the research and see for yourself 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% less automobile miles.

Join Our Hundreds of Local Members!

We understand that local 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.

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

Independents Month

Celebrate local businesses in July! When we support local businesses we support local jobs, and we support what keeps our community ours. By keeping more of our money right here in our community, we reduce harmful environmental impacts, and celebrate businesses that give back.

Holiday Gift Guide

Give the gift of local — find the perfect gift and strengthen our community all at the same time! Feel good about getting one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list while supporting your community. This beats the long lines and busy 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.

Bellingham Cider Company – What’s in a Name

What's in a Name  By Maressa Valliant You can walk into Bellingham Cider Company at any time during business hours, and you’ll have a knowing thought—this is where the locals go. It’s one of those places that locals bring their friends and family to make a good...

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Guud Bowls

Good Things Come In... By Maressa Valliant November 2019 Finish this sentence: Good Things come in ___________. Maybe your mind went with: "small packages", "pairs", or "threes". Regardless, in the case of this local business, all of you are correct, AND we'd like to...

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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...

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And a Big Thanks To Our Think Local First Campaign Sponsors: