Sonoma County GO LOCAL, a 13-year strong co-op network of locally owned, independent businesses and nonprofits, added a Local Business Recovery Fund to their offerings in 2020, amidst the devastating impacts to locally owned businesses of health and environmental crises.
The Recovery Fund was created to offer a modest but now-proven added layer of support to businesses affected by loss of sales from these events and has supported over 60 businesses and nonprofits over the last two years. GO LOCAL is committed to raising sponsorship support for a third year in 2022 and hopes to make this an annual offering.
Participating locally owned Sonoma County businesses can use the funds to improve their marketing presence, reach customers and recover sales in a much more affordable way. Businesses who apply must be ready to commit either $500 or $1000 of their own capital to receive matching funds that can be spent on an extensive menu of GO LOCAL’s marketing and advertising offerings.
Matching funds for this program have been supplied entirely by local business sponsors Summit State Bank, SOMO Living, Poppy Bank, Exchange Bank, Oliver's Market, Luther Burbank Savings, Clover Sonoma, Mengali Accountancy, and Mercy Wellness. GO LOCAL is currently seeking sponsors for the 2022 Local Business Recovery Fund through the end of July.
“Especially over the past two years, small, local businesses have become incredibly nimble and have adapted to changing consumer behavior. Yet with the many continued stressors on them, including the end of governmental relief and a dramatic increase in online purchasing, many local businesses still need significant support,” says GO LOCAL’s Executive Director, Janeen Murray. “Amazon alone has doubled its share of US eCommerce sales since 2014, reaching an all-time high in 2021 of 57%. It’s even harder on brick-and-mortar locations. However, we know that the positive impact of local spending is huge—not just to revive individual businesses, but to reinvigorate local communities as a whole.”
Bliss Organic Day Spa owner Melena Moore notes, “I received matching funds with GO LOCAL's Local Business Recovery Fund in the fall of 2021, and it was helpful to my business because we really needed to enter the post-quarantine economy strong, and marketing is so key to our continued success and staying power. I’m so grateful for my relationship with Janeen and the GO LOCAL family - they have the resources and connections I need to compete locally for my financial sustainability and to employ a diverse group of people from my community.”
Kelly Smith, Executive Director of nonprofit Agricultural Community Events Farmers' Markets remarks, “The Local Business Recovery Fund through GO LOCAL has provided our organization the ability to continue advertising to our target customers through Made Local Magazine. We operate 7 farmers' markets in Sonoma County which support our local farmers, food businesses and artisans. In the current economic climate, it can be difficult for nonprofits like ours to include advertising and marketing in our budgets. The Local Business Recovery Fund has allowed us to keep our marketing budget at a reasonable level so we can continue sharing what we offer to the readers of Made Local Magazine.”
California Luggage owner Bernie Schwartz echoes, “I received matching funds with GO LOCAL's Local Business Recovery Fund last year, and it was helpful to my business because it intensified our exposure in the community just when it counted the most.”