Think Local First

What is Think Local First?

Primary Goal

To strengthen the economies of New Mexico’s communities.

Public Education

The Think Local First campaign builds awareness within NM’s local communities about the economic, social and environmental advantages of buying from local businesses. The more money we spend locally, the more money is recycled in our economy.

Successful Local Businesses

Think Local First promotes the prosperity of local independently owned businesses by encouraging consumers to think of local businesses first when we buy something, go out to eat, or look for services.


Through our public awareness campaign, we encourage consumers to support locally owned businesses and we connect businesses to each other through networking opportunities and events.

Local Living Economies

Think Local First advocates a new approach to sustainable community and economic development based on increasing ownership of community assets such as sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, green building, zero-waste manufacturing, and independent retail, building what it calls a “local living economy.”

To find out if you can join the Think Local First Campaign in your chapter, click here for an explanation of our Member Participant Criteria.

Click here for details on our Think Local First Campaign benefits.

 9 Reasons to Think Local First

  1. Money Spent Local, Stays Local. Several studies have shown that money spent in a local business stays in the community. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into the community – and our tax base. For every $100 spent at a chain store, only $14 comes back.*
  2. Local Owners are Local Contributors. Local businesses give a greater amount of money to local causes. Nonprofits receive an average of 350% more support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses. They also directly inject money into the local economy through payments of wages and benefits to local residents.
  3. Local Businesses Offer Stable Employment. Small local businesses are one of the largest employers nationally, and local businesses offer greater loyalty to their employees.
  4. Lower Environmenal Impact. Independent businesses make purchases requiring less transportation and usually open and operate in commercial corridors and in-town instead of developing on the fringe. This means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. Higher densities and greater access for pedestrians and public transit mean significantly less land devoted to roads and parking lots.
  5. Promote Competition and Diversity. More local businesses equal more competition and better prices. When certain businesses monopolize the market, competition is gone.
  6. Put Your Taxes to Good Use. Local businesses in neighborhoods need comparatively less infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community. A study of this found that the city’s small downtown stores generate a net annual surplus (tax revenue minus costs) of $326 per 1,000 square feet. Big-box stores, strip shopping centers, and fast-food outlets, however, require more in services than they produce in revenue. A big-box store creates an annual tax deficit of $468 per 1,000 square feet.*
  7. Vote With Your Dollars. What you buy matters. Every time you choose a local business over a chain, it makes a difference. It’s a vote with your dollar. When you buy local, the ripple effect spreads from cash registers right to your street.
  8. Keep New Mexico One-of-a-Kind. The unique shops, restaurants and businesses who call our city home are a huge part of what makes New Mexico inimitable. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
  9. Invest in the Community. Locally owned businesses are run by people who live here, work here, and are invested in the community with much more than just their dollars own local businesses. In an increasingly homogenized world, people are more likely to invest in or move to communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and unique attitude.

*Sources: The Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses vs. Chains: A Case Study in MidCoast Maine, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of MidCoast Maine, September 2003; and Economic Impact Analysis: A Case Study, Civic Economics, December 2002. *New Rules Project, Home Town Advantage Bulletin September 2003. *Tischler & Associates, Barnstable, MA.

More “Think Local First” Resources and Statistics

New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce programming is developed with the cooperation of: