How to GO LOCAL First in Sonoma County

Jan. 2, 2020

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead

How You Can Start Making a Difference by Choosing Local First

  1. Know who the locally owned businesses are and visit them at the GO LOCAL List for Sonoma County.
  2. Recommend your favorite local businesses to your friends and family.
  3. Tell these members you appreciate what they do for us.
  4. Get a Rewards Card and use it at participating merchants.

Awareness.  Choice.  Shift.


Sonoma County is home to many wonderful locally owned, independent businesses.  Do you know which ones are locally owned?  We bet you know quite a few.  Think about this, when you have guests visit from other parts of the country and you want to show them around Sonoma County, where do you take them to dine out or shop for unique gifts?  Do you say to them, "Oh, we have this great WalMart must see, or we have a McDonalds and Starbucks"?

Chances are you take them to The Beer Baron, Petaluma Pie Company, Birkenstock Village, Mombo's Pizza, Kindred Fair Trade, Oliver's Markets, Andy's Market, Molsberry's Market, Community Market or the hundreds of other locally owned business that create the true and unique character of Sonoma County.  (See a complete directory of them on this site).  These are the businesses that reflect the personality of our community and that give you your "bragging rights" for how wonderful it is here.  The vineyards and wine making are world renowned, and you most likely share those as well.


What does GO LOCAL First really mean?  It means you have a choice where you shop or dine.  Think about those choices you make every day.  When you can, choose local first.

Billions of advertising dollars have been spent to convince you that the big chain stores and big box stores ought to be your first choice.  Most of us are influenced by advertising of that magnitude whether we realize it or not.  GO LOCAL First ask you to think about the many advantages of choosing local first.  Locally owned businesses provide more jobs, support more local non-profits and provide our local flavor, character and personality.  And contrary to the ad messages, they provide better choices, convenience and goods and services at lower prices than the global competitors.

You may not always be in a position to choose local first, but let it at least be a conscious consideration.  The times you do choose local first, you'll be richly rewarded and so will Sonoma County.


The shift to locally owned businesses for your spending choice pays off big time economically.  It's simple.  When you buy from locally owned businesses, $25 more out of each $100 you spend stays local.

Here's the breakdown for retail sales in Sonoma County:

2016 estimated retail sales: $7 billion

If all retail expenditures were spent with locally owned businesses:  $1.75 billion more would recirculate here.  Even a 10% shift in your spending will generate an additional $175 million that stays local.

That's a significant amount that can be reinvested locally to start new businesses and create more jobs, and contribute to our community infrastructure.  The path to these benefits starts with you and your shift to local first.  You don't have to spend more, just buy local when you can.  It adds up to a huge difference when everyone makes a local first choice.