I had the pleasure of spending an extended weekend in Colorado visiting family. Travel and experiencing new cultures is one of the driving forces in my life. But no matter where I am, what state, or what country, I always try to support the local community. Yes, I enjoy the tourist sites - this day started with a trip up the Pike's Peak Cog Railway. Mixed in with seeing all the sites, I want to know what's going on in the community. Walking around Manitou Springs, at the base of Pike's Peak, we found this little gem: Local First Grocer. One look at the front windows pictured below and I had to go inside to check things out.
Inside, I had the good fortune to find co-founder Luke Cissell behind the counter. His passion was clear as he spoke of the importance of Local First Grocer Co-op not just as a means of keeping the community's dollars within the community, but as a place for the locals to come together and bond. Manitou Springs is the clear definition of a tourist town, with the main street filled of shops offering all sorts of trinkets and memorabilia. Local First, though in that same downtown, was designed to cater to the locals, growing the strength of the community. It's also a great perk to organic and local foodies like myself! With 150 co-op members, Local First creates an opportunity for these people to cross paths more often and bond over a common tie. Not only in shopping the store, but in helping to work as part of their membership (depending on the membership plan), receiving discounted pricing in return for their contribution.
Local Grocers just opened this spring, after a successful Kickstarter campaign. To quote their purpose "Manitou Springs doesn't have a grocery store, so bringing fresh food to our town will meet this need. But we know that our residents are in the habit of driving out of town to large chain supermarkets." "They have been made to believe that buying cheap food is healthy for the economy. This is not true. Our farmers and producers deserve a living wage and the value of good food should be reflected in the price." "We hope with education and harnessing the power of community with this co-op model, we will succeed in breaking the corporate food chain addiction." Bonus! Attached to Local First Grocer is Anna's Apothecary. Anna was beyond knowledgeable, and both my mother and myself left with a few elixirs for some ailments we have been fighting. Prevention over prescription, if you can avoid the pharmacy do so and find your local apothecary or homeopath. Don't have anyone local? Check out Anna's site and send her a message - she ships! I'll leave you with a quote from Thomas Edison: "The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Need more reason to shop local? For every $100 you spend, $68 stays in the community when you shop local, compared to $43 when you shop with a national chain, with a revenue recirculation rate of 48% versus 13.6% for national chains. So wherever you may be, remember to support the local community!
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