Thanks go out to the good people over at Local First D.C. for inviting City Desk out to their first-anniversary party. At Busboys & Poets there was chicken-on-a-stick, falafel, fruit, pitas, hummus, but more importantly, there were stickers!
No, no. More importantly, there were owners of a bunch of D.C. businesses and staffers with the LEDC (Latino Economic Development Corporation), including our new friends: Kate Drew, Leda Hernandez, and Daniel Perra (pictured), who explained the concept: LEDC is is incubating, like very small chickens, the Local First campaign, now in more than 50 communities. Well, they explained it a little differently, but this is a blog, people. We have to fun it up.
In D.C., there are, as of today, 72 members, most in Ward 1, about half of them restaurants and cafes and the rest of them retail and services (salons, yoga, etc.), according to the campaign’s coordinator, Ayari De la Rosa of LEDC. What they get for their membership, in addition to Super Friends who can help stop the world from becoming Wal-Mart, are group rates for expensive things like advertising, marketing, insurance, and utilities. A group of 10 of them actually went in together to switch their electricity to wind energy through Clean Currents and saved 9 percent on costs, says De la Rosa. Go wind!
And not only that: Go D.C. Dept. of Housing and Community Development! The department contributed enough to the LEDC to pay De la Rosa’s salary so that she could get the campaign off the ground. “So many people think D.C. is doing nothing to help small businesses, and of course they could do more, but they’re supporting us on this and we hope they will continue,” she says.
Want to find out more? Of course you do! Read The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition, by D.C.’s own Michael Shuman, an economist and lawyer who’s the go-to on going local. But don’t get it on Amazon, dude. Walk your ass over to Olsson’s.