Tribal Thoughts: Be a part of the conversation.

May 27, 2014

“Local First is about relationships. Relationships between people and businesses and place.” – Elissa Hillary, Executive Director of Local First

One of my favorite things about this community is that there are so many opportunities to get involved and be part of the conversation. If you have questions, an opinion, or if you are just looking to connect and dig a little deeper, many conversations are open for discussion.

We recently began our speaker series titled Community Conversations. Our first guest was Elissa Hillary with Local First. Many of us know Local First as a sticker in the front window or as the hosts of a Street Party every summer. What you may not know, are many of the initiatives that are in place to help local businesses not only grow, but grow responsibly through a certification called B-corp. Local First also supports spending locally by educating consumers on the value of spending dollars at locally owned businesses, specifically by promoting its members.

I have had some people ask what Local First offers its members or say that they don’t know what exactly the organization is all about. My answer is always the same… ask questions and be a part of the conversation! If you have suggestions – offer them. If you want to be involved, but don’t know how – find out. The idea behind the Community Conversation speaker series is just that. A place to learn more, ask questions, offer suggestions, and find out how to get involved.

Our next series is June 16 at 4pm at Osteria Rossa with Tami VandenBerg of Wellhouse. Come with questions!



by Monica Steimle

Raised in Holland and educated at Grand Valley State University, Monica has a passion for West Michigan. Her background in real estate spans over 15 years at some of downtown Grand Rapids’ most well-known commercial real estate companies.

Monica lives with her three children in Belknap Neighborhood. She currently sits on the boards of Local First and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.



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