Courtesy Think Local First
Courtesy Think Local First

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The first ever Local First Awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 9, and many news-making food businesses are finalists, including three home-grown fast casual chains on the path to continued expansion: CAVA, &pizza, and Sweetgreen. Thirty-five D.C. businesses are in the running to take home an award across seven creative categories. (The full list is below.) 

Think Local First DC, an organization committed to the long-term success of local businesses, is putting on the event inside Blind Whino in Southwest D.C. (You can’t miss it—just look for Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in building form.) It’s open to the public and will feature an open bar, food pop-ups, local beer, art installations, a “Made in DC” market, and more. VIP tickets ($149) get you in for the 7 p.m. awards program. General admission ($69) starts at 8 p.m. for the after party and dancing. The purchase of any ticket comes with a Think Local First annual membership. 

Key leadership at Think Local First DC includes Andy Shallal of Busyboys and Poets, Keith Sellars of Washington, DC Economic Partnership, Michael Babin of Neighborhood Restaurant Group, Nizam Ali of Ben’s Chili Bowl, and Mari Rodela of DC Brau

Here are your 2017 finalists as determined by a ​panel​ ​of​ ​judges ​comprised​ ​of​ ​local​ ​business​ ​and community​ ​leaders,​ ​artists,​ ​journalists​, ​and​ ​D.C. residents: 

DC​ ​Maker​ ​Award​a​ ​local​ ​business,​ ​entrepreneur​, ​or​ ​artist​ ​who​ ​designs,​ ​makes,​ ​produces,​ ​and/or assembles​ ​a​ ​product​ ​in​ ​the​ ​District​ ​of​ ​Columbia​ ​that​ ​makes​ ​an​ ​impact:

ANXO Cider

Bailiwick​ ​Clothing

Cherry​ ​Blossom​ ​Creative

Hunny​ ​Bunny​ ​Boutique

Turning​ ​Natural

Ripple​ ​Effect​A​ ​business​ ​that​ ​supports​ ​the​ ​local​ ​economy​ ​by​ ​purchasing​ ​supplies​ ​and​ ​services​ ​from​ ​other local​ ​businesses,​ ​creating​ ​a​ ​“ripple​ ​effect”​ ​as​ ​money​ ​circulates​ ​within​ ​the​ ​local​ ​community:


Glen’s​ ​Garden​ ​Market

Mess​ ​Hall

Paul​ ​Ruppert​ ​Restaurants​ ​and​ ​Upshur​ ​Street​ ​Books

Steadfast​ ​Supply

High​ ​Road​A​ ​model​ ​employer​ ​who​ ​puts​ ​their​ ​people​ ​first​ ​by​ ​providing​ ​quality​ ​jobs,​ ​fostering​ ​a​ ​positive work​ ​environment,​ ​and​ ​championing​ ​beneficial​ ​business​ ​practices:


Clean​ ​Decisions

Comet​ ​Ping​ ​Pong

Love​ ​’n​ ​Faith​ ​Community​ ​Cafe

The​ ​Potter’s​ ​House

Green​ ​Thumb​An​ ​environmental​ ​champion​ ​who​ ​works​ ​to​ ​improve​ ​the​ ​local​ ​community​ ​through sustainable​ ​practices,​ ​products​, ​or​ ​services.​ ​This​ ​local​ ​business​ ​or​ ​individual​ ​significantly​ ​reduces​ ​waste​ ​or consumption,​ ​creates​ ​green​ ​products​, ​and/or​ ​provides​ ​green​ ​services:

Atlas​ ​Brew​ ​Works

Compost​ ​Cab

Love​ ​and​ ​Carrots

Misfit​ ​Juicery

Up​ ​Top​ ​Acres

Builder​A​ ​local​ ​community​ ​developer,​ ​investor,​ ​or​ ​lender​ ​with​ ​deep​ ​roots​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community​ ​and​ ​known​ ​for positive​ ​investments​ ​in​ ​D.C.’s​ ​people,​ ​culture,​ ​and​ ​future:

Cultivate​ ​Ventures

City​ ​First​ ​Bank

Industrial​ ​Bank

Menkiti​ ​Group

PN​ ​Hoffman

Pioneer​​A​ ​local​ ​business,​ ​entrepreneur,​ ​or​ ​artist​ ​who​ ​inspires​ ​with​ ​a​ ​creative​ ​new​ ​idea,​ ​product, perspective,​ ​model​, and/or solution:

Check​ ​It​ ​Enterprises

Kelly​ ​Towles

Politics​ ​and​ ​Prose

Takoma​ ​Wellness​ ​Center

Tightshift​ ​Laboring​ ​Cooperative

Community​ ​Champion​​A​ ​local​ ​business​ ​owner​ ​who​ ​makes​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​and​ ​noticeable impact​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community​ ​across​ ​a​ ​range​ ​of​ ​categories:

Lee’s​ ​Flower​ ​and​ ​Card​ ​Shop


Yes!​ ​Organic​ ​Market

Cureate​ ​Connect

Union​ ​Kitchen