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  • May 31, 2024 6:39 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    “Amid the chaos and breakdown of our time, imagining such a thing as economic system change can seem daunting, overwhelming, impossible,” said Marjorie Kelly, a distinguished senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative. “The truth is system change is already emerging all around us. It’s beginning in our own backyards, in the form of Community Wealth Building, a form of local economic development that transforms local economies through communities having direct ownership and control of their assets.”

    Community Wealth Building has gained traction over the years, especially since Marjorie Kelly published her latest book Wealth Supremacy last September. Let’s take a closer look at this approach.

    Image Credit: Democracy Collaborative

    What is Community Wealth Building?

    “When 50 percent of the population can’t put its hands on $1,000 in an emergency, and 50 percent of the private workforce has retirement assets of zero, wealth insecurity is a severe problem in this country, and we need a way to build wealth,” said Corey Rosen, founder of the National Center for Employee Ownership.

    Community Wealth Building calls for a “great ownership transition” -- shifting ownership from the hands of a few to many. Who owns and controls a city or town's businesses, buildings, and other assets profoundly impacts community members’ health and wealth. So, Community Wealth Building calls for broadening ownership through diverse strategies like forming cooperatives, moving money to community banks, public banks, and credit unions, cultivating land trusts, and much more. This approach also reimagines how wealth is invested to serve community needs over building billionaires. With a shift in wealth comes a shift in power.

    “[While] we’ve built superhighways for speculative investments, productive local investments travel dirt paths,” said Marjorie Kelly. “We need new infrastructure to make local and impact investing easy. Much of that innovation is coming at warp speed from the impact investing world, where countless funds are springing up to invest in marginalized communities, decarbonize buildings, and advance sustainable development goals.”

    Rebalancing Wealth: Baby Bonds

    Connecticut launched America’s first baby bond in 2023, depositing $3,200 in an account for each newborn enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program.  Over time, each account will grow to as much as $24,000 per child.  When these children reach 18, they can use this money for college, a downpayment on a home, to start a business, or to save for retirement. Baby bonds represent a long-term approach to reducing the wealth gap in future generations.

    Learn more about Baby Bonds

    The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute offers a compelling case in support of baby bonds, “Experts suggest that addressing equity and closing the racial wealth divide would add more than $2 trillion in GDP annually, increasing economic development and improving the health of the economy, which is an area of common ground for political parties. In general, making equitable adjustments to existing tax subsidies that disproportionately benefit the highest-income earners could generate enough savings to pay for baby bonds.”

    Recirculating Wealth: Anchor Institutions

    Another example of Community Wealth Building is Evergreen Cooperatives, which blends the economic power of anchor institutions with employee ownership. Anchor institutions are large nonprofits that, once established, usually stay in one place -- think of hospitals, universities, and government entities.  By connecting the goods and services offered by locally owned businesses to the needs of anchor institutions, both the individual companies and the entire local economy benefit.  

    In 2008, The Cleveland Model in Ohio started Evergreen Cooperatives with an employee-owned green laundry service to meet the needs of local hospitals.  Evergreen now includes four more cooperatives focusing on weatherization and manufacturing, plus an employee ownership investment fund.  In our region, hospitals are coming together to explore Community Wealth Building through the Healthcare Anchor Network.

    Learn more about Anchor Institutions

    Spreading Wealth: Employee Ownership

    Employee ownership, another Community Wealth Building strategy mentioned above, gives workers their own shares in the company they work for.  There are multiple forms of employee ownership, from employee stock ownership plans to worker cooperatives.

    What is Employee Ownership?

    King Arthur Baking Company in Norwich, VT, became 100% employee-owned in 2004.  Owners Frank and Brinna Sands wanted to retire, but without family members to take over the business, they turned to their employees to keep the company’s mission intact.  Workers earn company stock, giving them a path toward a better retirement.

    "These jobs are not going to be sent overseas when it's an employee-owned company," said King Arthur employee-owner Rosie Wawrzyniak. "That's why politicians, no matter what side of the aisle they're on, they always support employee-owned companies. You know, people really care about getting meat from happy cows or happy chickens; why would you not want products from happy people? Customers benefit when they're getting a better-quality product from happy people."

    “If you have time for just one book this summer, please read Marjorie Kelly’s Wealth Supremacy,” shared local economist Michael Shuman. “She’s an astute critic of what we are getting wrong in our economy, but she also has lots of ideas about what we can get right.”  Pick up your copy today at the Toadstool Bookshops in Keene or order it online at There’s so much more to learn about Community Wealth Building.

    Learn along with us!

    Before we wrap up this month’s article, we wanted to announce that we’re partnering with Monadnock Food Co-op to launch our third-annual Staycation Challenge!

    What’s a Staycation?

    Summer means vacation for many of us.  However, taking a vacation doesn’t have to include traveling far from home to get away.  Take a Staycation and experience all the Monadnock Region has to offer. You’ll save money at the gas pumps and make new connections to nurture throughout the year.  The money you spend recirculates in our local economy, building more community health and wealth.

    What’s the Staycation Challenge?

    Enter TLC Monadnock’s Staycation Challenge by pledging to spend your dollars only at locally owned businesses for one day, one week, or the entire month of July.

    Take our pre-survey now and then a post-survey coming in late July.  Complete both surveys for your chance to win our Staycation package. 

    What’s this year’s Staycation Package?

    This year’s winner of our Staycation Package will receive a two-night stay at the Bridges Inn Whitcomb House, a $25 West LA Brewery gift card (both in Swanzey), a gift basket of summer necessities (sunscreens and anti-bug products) from Badger Balm in Gilsum, and more treats from locally owned businesses. We’ll announce our winner in mid-August.

    Happy staycationing!

  • April 21, 2024 6:58 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    “After 50 years of framing work around the automobile, retail analysts in both the private and public sectors are shifting to a new consensus: cars don’t spend money — people do.”

    The quote above, taken from the report Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business, highlights a significant shift in thinking. People need access to our locally owned stores, whether getting there by foot, bicycle, wheelchair, bus, or personal vehicle. How can we balance each person’s transportation needs with municipal budgets and businesses’ bottom lines? Enter the bicycle.

    There’s growing evidence that encouraging people to go by bicycle boosts the local economy. When done correctly, adding bicycle lanes and other cycling amenities can increase retail sales while decreasing parking pressures.

    Read More

    “Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “When local communities invest in making bicycling safer and a real transportation option for more people, the return on investment is clear for individuals and society at large — from cost-savings on public health to small businesses’ growth and more.”

    While bicyclists tend to buy smaller amounts when they shop, bicyclists visit each store more often and spend more money overall compared to those who commute by automobile. Also, providing space for bicycle parking costs municipalities less than vehicle parking. A dozen bicycles can fit into one parking space designed for a vehicle.

    Celebrate Bicycling in May

    May is National Bicycle Month, the perfect time to amplify the benefits of bicycling and take more bike rides. Whether you ride for fun, fitness, or take essential trips to work or shop, be part of the movement for safer streets, connected communities, a healthier planet, and happier people.

    Mark your calendar and cycle along! National Ride A Bike Day happens May 5, Bike to Work Week will take place May 13-19, and Bike to Work Day is on Friday, May 17.

    The American Independent Business Alliance and partners throughout North America will celebrate Bicycling Means Business Month in May, promoting the connections between bicycling and healthy local economies.

    “Bike to Good Fortune Jewelry & Pawn in Keene during May, and we’ll give you a free Pocket Angel,” shared business owner and AMIBA member Roger Weinreich.

    Attend the Kiwanis Kool Wheels Event at the Keene Recreation Center on May 4, from 10 am to 12 pm.  Kool Wheels is a free family event where kids of all ages can select a new bicycle helmet (while supplies last) and learn about bike safety.  

    Schools nationwide will celebrate Bike & Roll to School Day on May 8. Over 1,000 schools will participate to call attention to making routes to schools safer and kids more active.

    Enjoy a series of free guided bicycle tours along our state’s picturesque rail trails called Tour De New Hampshire. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or new to biking, organizers designed these weekly tours to celebrate the joy of cycling and showcase the natural beauty of New Hampshire’s incredible rail trail system. Stay tuned for details.

    On May 18, enjoy The Tour de Francestown, a beautiful 25- or 50-mile marked course through Francestown and neighboring towns presented by the Francestown Old Meeting House.  Registration fees include on-course rest stops and food and drink at the finish line. Register today!

    Make Every Ride Count

    Make your bicycle rides count by logging your miles in the Love to Ride app. This new app will help communities make better bicycle infrastructure decisions using real-time, crowdsourced information. Rate your comfort level all along your route. You may even win a prize! Download the Love to Ride app at Love to Ride’s website.

    Celebrate Bicycle Friendly Businesses, Colleges, and Municipalities

    The Bike League’s Bicycle Friendly America program celebrates places that are more welcoming to people who bike. There are currently 480 Bicycle Friendly Communities, 1,480 Bicycle Friendly Businesses, and 220 Bicycle Friendly Universities. Locally, the City of Keene, Keene State College, Monadnock Food Co-op, and Keene Family YMCA received BFA designation. Congrats! View the complete database

    Let’s get rolling!

  • March 27, 2024 7:26 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This past year has seen some incredible new developments in the Move Your Money: Bank Local and Invest Local movement—including new community investment funds, new cooperative designs, and new public policies.  Let’s elevate these innovations during Move Your Money Month this April. Direct more of your dollars to the banks and businesses based where you live, and join a growing movement prioritizing people, planet, and profit.

    Local economist Michael Shuman tracks these developments in his weekly newsletter, The Main Street Journal.  Join Michael for a free virtual event called Incredible New Developments in the Move Your Money Movement on Thursday, April 11, from 1 – 2 pm.  Discover how you can be part of the movement!

    RSVP today

    Move Your Money: Bank Local

    When you bank locally at a community bank or credit union in our region, more of your dollars recirculate throughout our local economy -- building more local jobs and prosperity.

    Traditional banks, publicly traded and owned by stockholders, exist to provide a return on investment to their far-away owners. On the other hand, community banks are privately owned and not publicly traded.  Credit unions are cooperatives, meaning the members own their banks.

    “At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.  “Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject.”

    Move your money closer to home and your heart by choosing a bank more aligned with your values. Who do you bank with now?  Search for them here and find out what your bank does with your money.  Discover how many dollars your bank invests in your community.

    Want to Move Your Money closer to home? Find a new bank here.

    Move Your Money: Invest Local

    In addition to moving your money to a community bank or credit union, we encourage you to invest in locally owned businesses. Why? The Monadnock Region Indie Impact Study found that businesses rooted in our region recirculate up to four times more money in our local economy compared to national chain stores. If we invested more capital in locally owned businesses, we’d see a return on investment that included more community health and wealth.

    We’ll share local investing opportunities on our website throughout Move Your Money Month. 

    Stay Tuned

    Thanks for banking, investing, and choosing locally owned and independent businesses each and every day!

  • February 28, 2024 7:37 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This March, The Local Crowd Monadnock invites you to celebrate Choose Indie Sustainable Month.

    We’re teaming up with the American Independent Business Alliance and partners throughout North America to spotlight businesses that benefit our local economy, environment, and community -- triple-bottom-line businesses such as B Corps, cooperatives, and other enterprises.

    Locally owned businesses, especially ones working towards a more environmentally sustainable and socially just economy, help us keep “the green” in our communities.  Independent and locally owned businesses in the Monadnock Region strengthen our local economy, culture, and overall well-being as they re-circulate more money in our community than chain stores and online giants.

    Cooperatives In Our Community

    Cooperatives, companies owned by their members, follow seven guiding principles, including democratic member control and concern for the community.  These businesses exist to serve their members instead of far-away stockholders. 

    Monadnock Food Co-op, a grocery store in downtown Keene owned by over 4,400 community members, uses a cooperative business model.  Everyone can shop at Monadnock Food Co-op.  However, members receive additional benefits such as quarterly discounts, patronage refunds, and vote on who serves on the board of directors.

    Monadnock Food Co-op conducts an impact assessment annually, measuring its fossil fuel use, waste reduction efforts, community contributions, and more.  We’ll share details from their latest assessment throughout March.  Here is one update: “Recently, the store has been focusing on increasing the amount of organic waste we divert from landfills to be composted,” said sustainability coordinator Jane Clerkin. “This has led to the overflow of our compost dumpster, which is definitely better than having it go into the trash. As a solution, we have partnered with Elm City Compost to assist Casella Waste Systems in managing our organic waste.” 

    The Co-op’s roof hosts our region’s first locally owned community-supported solar project. The project is locally controlled, whereas most community solar projects are owned and managed by developers or utilities. The Monadnock Sustainability Hub developed the New Hampshire Community Supported Solar Guide from this project to help others replicate this project and bring more renewable energy to our region.

    New in 2024, the Co-op installed two Electric Vehicle DC fast chargers and two level 2 electric vehicle chargers outside its building. Monadnock Food Co-op received a grant through the Volkswagen settlement funds to cover 80% of the project's costs. The remaining 20% was raised through The Local Crowd Monadnock and other fundraising efforts.

    Co-ops Beyond Our Region

    While Monadnock Food Co-op represents a consumer cooperative, other types of co-ops, such as worker cooperatives, exist. Instead of the shoppers owning the business, the workers own the company.  To learn more about worker co-ops, please join us for a virtual screening of the film Works For All about the worker co-op economy in Cincinnati, OH.  

    This short documentary highlights the work of Co-op Cincy, an organization cultivating a network of worker-owned cooperatives to create a regional economy that works for all. Co-op Cincy also helps convert existing businesses (whose owners are retiring) into cooperatives.

    On March 29 at 7 p.m., during a live virtual film discussion, let’s talk more about worker cooperatives and how this type of co-op is growing in New England (and beyond).  Discussion guests include Kristen Barker, co-director of Co-op Cincy, and Rob Brown, director of Business Ownership Solutions at Cooperative Development Institute.

    Reserve your ticket today to view the film (for free!), and then watch it any time between March 29 and March 31.  Thank you to our event hosts, American Independent Business Alliance and Monadnock International Film Festival, and event sponsors, Littleton Food Co-op and The Local Crowd Monadnock.

    Learn More

    B Corps

    A certification process called B Corp helps a company “measure what matters” and better balance its purpose and profits. B Lab, the nonprofit that leads this movement, currently lists 7,988 certified businesses from 96 countries.  B Corps based in our region include Badger in Gilsum and Frisky Cow Gelato in Keene.

    “B Corp Certification is holistic, not exclusively focused on a single social or environmental issue,” reads B Lab’s website.  “And the process to achieve and maintain certification is rigorous and requires engaging teams and departments across your company. Recertification confirms these standards continue to be met on an ongoing basis.”  

    Any business can fill out the B Impact Assessment online and see how they rank. For a business to become a Certified B Corp, it must earn at least 80 points in the B Impact Assessment and pay a certification fee.  The certified company receives a full report with recommendations from B Lab on how to boosts its positive impacts. 

    Discover More

    One well-known B Corp in our region, Badger in Gilsum, makes healing balms, lip balms, sunscreens, and other personal care products.  

    “At Badger, we’ve always held true to what we call our North Star -- our vision for a healthier world,” says our Co-CEO, Rebecca Hamilton. “In the beginning, at a time when most businesses were making decisions based on the bottom line, Badger was making decisions based on strong mission-driven principles and ethos. In our mission statement, we say that money is a fuel, not a goal—meaning that our true reason for being in business is to enact our mission-based work and help create the healthier world we imagine. This commitment to doing the right thing for people and the planet continues to shape the way Badger does business today.”

    Badger has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and installed a rooftop solar array in 2020.  They strive to choose ingredients from suppliers that practice regenerative agriculture.  The company works hard to reduce plastic packaging, as well. 

    Learn More

    A new B Corp in our region, Frisky Cow Gelato in Keene, makes its decadent desserts from New Hampshire milk.  Owner, Linda Rubin, has committed her businesses to sourcing at least half of all its supplies and ingredients locally and donating 2% of its annual revenue to nonprofits building our local food system and boosting food security.

    “Why gelato? Back in 1983, I visited Florence, Italy and fell in love with gelato! The creamy texture and rich flavors totally won me over,” shared Linda.  “Ten years later, I moved to New Hampshire and started working at Stonewall Farm, a nonprofit education center and dairy farm in Keene. I spent almost nine years working at Stonewall Farm, educating people about where their food comes from and the importance of local agriculture. I dreamed about making a value-added dairy product someday.”

    Learn More

    When we Choose Indie Sustainable, we do so much more than just shop – we bank, invest, create, and donate to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we support our local economy. Together, we build strong local, equitable, and sustainable economies. Stay connected and learn more throughout March!
  • February 28, 2024 7:22 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Building a More Welcoming Community

    The world is an increasingly interconnected place. Families are relocating, immigrants are settling in, and communities are transformed and challenged by ongoing economic trends. The Keene Multicultural Center Project will help foster more resiliency and cultivate the social spirit of the community.

    Learn more!

    The Keene Multicultural Center Project recently launched a crowdfunding campaign through The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock. The funds raised will help create a unique community gathering space where individuals from different cultures and backgrounds can make new connections, celebrate, strive, and contribute towards building a more welcoming region.

    "The Keene Community Cultural Center Project will bring together individuals from different cultural backgrounds with the common goal of addressing diverse needs to bring our community together," said Project Leader Gail Somers. "We hope to create a tangible physical space we can call home. Our community space will be a hub for cultivating and celebrating culture. It will provide a space to hold classes, exhibitions, performances, workshops, educational programs, a resource center, and cultural events, all of which will bring numerous opportunities for volunteerism and community connection."

    Give Today!

    Offline donations are also accepted through Monadnock Arts Alive, the project's fiscal sponsor. Checks can be made out to Arts Alive and mailed to Arts Alive, 15 Eagle Court, Keene, NH, 03431. Please add "Keene Multicultural Center" to the memo.

  • February 24, 2024 5:01 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Includes Post-Film Discussion with Worker-Owned Cooperative Advocates

    Join us for a free virtual screening of the film WORKS FOR ALL, focusing on worker-owned cooperatives, from March 29 to March 31, 2024. This event also includes a virtual film discussion with worker-owned cooperative advocates.

    Free tickets

    This documentary highlights the work of Co-op Cincy. Since 2011, Co-op Cincy has inspired a network of worker-owned cooperatives in Cincinnati, Ohio, to create a regional economy that works for all.

    This event is part of March's Choose Indie Sustainable Month, a nationwide celebration to amplify and support locally owned businesses that are B Corps, cooperatives, and other triple-bottom-line enterprises.

    "People may be familiar with some types of co-ops -- like Monadnock Food Co-op, a consumer-owned cooperative -- but we want to shine a light on a different type of cooperative, a worker-owned co-op," said The Local Crowd Monadnock Program Manager Jen Risley. "Discover more about worker-owned cooperatives and how this type of co-op is growing in New England (and beyond)."

    WORKS FOR ALL, co-directed by Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young, visits several of the diverse worker-owned cooperatives in Co-op Cincy's network, with many led by people traditionally marginalized in the U.S. economy. The film highlights Co-op Cincy's remarkable work in transforming and supporting these businesses. Particularly significant for the future is the effort to help convert existing businesses--whose owners are retiring--to cooperatives. The film also explores the influence of Spain's Mondragon Corporation, the world's most prominent worker cooperative federation, on Co-op Cincy's mission.

    Film and discussion tickets are free and available at, thanks to event co-hosts, American Independent Business Alliance and Monadnock International Film Festival, and event sponsors Littleton Food Co-op, Monadnock Food Co-op, and The Local Crowd Monadnock.

    The live virtual film discussion on March 29 at 7:00 p.m. includes Kristen Barker, co-director of Co-op Cincy, and Rob Brown, the director of Business Ownership Solutions at Cooperative Development Institute.

    Reserve Free Film Discussion Tickets

    Kristen Barker is a social entrepreneur, president, and Co-Founder of Co-op Cincy and 1worker1vote. She designs and leads participatory education events with co-op workers and helps worker-owners make their businesses more successful. Kristen also helps our design team determine the feasibility of potential co-op businesses, helps retiring business owners decide whether or not they can sell their business to their employees, and helps viable co-ops access the capital they need to leverage their ideas.

    Rob Brown is a nationally recognized expert in employee ownership transitions and has assisted dozens of businesses in exploring, assessing, structuring, and executing transitions to worker-owned cooperatives. He has developed extensive education, training, coaching, and technical assistance programs for boards, management, and members of new worker-owned cooperatives. He leads local, regional, and national programs to educate and advise business owners on exit planning processes and options. Rob participates in several national networks promoting the strategy of employee ownership conversions and best practices in the field, including as a founding member of the Workers to Owners Collaborative.

  • February 17, 2024 6:30 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We're getting ready for Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local Month that starts April 1.

    One of our first steps: Identify banks that help us keep our money closer to home.

    Our criteria:

    • Independent and privately held (not publicly traded).
    • Headquartered in New Hampshire (or within 20 miles of NH border).
    • Bank branch located in the Monadnock Region.

    Here's who we found (listed alphabetically):

    Bank of New Hampshire (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Laconia, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branch in Antrim

    GFA Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Gardner, MA
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Mascoma Bank (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: White River Junction, VT
    Ownership: Mutual
    Certified B-Corp
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Precision Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Keene, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Member Eligibility

    Savings Bank of Walpole (view impact data)
    Part of: NHTrust Financial Advisors
    Headquartered in: Walpole, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branches in Keene, Walpole, Winchester

    Service Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Portsmouth, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Hinsdale

    Walden Mutual Bank (view B Corp data)
    Online Bank focused on building Local Food Systems
    Headquartered in: Concord, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Certified B Corp

    Did we miss any community banks or credit unions?  Send us an email.

  • January 30, 2024 8:34 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This February, The Local Crowd (TLC) Monadnock invites you to celebrate Black-owned businesses, Black history, and diversity. We’re teaming up with the American Independent Business Alliance and partners throughout North America to promote Choose Black-Owned Month.  Together, we can build stronger local economies that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

    Why Celebrate Choose Black-Owned Month?

    Many community members want to support diversity where they live.  One study found that when Black-owned businesses were identified as “Black-owned,” those businesses saw increased customer visits. We want to help make it easier for our community to Choose Black-Owned in the Monadnock Region.

    According to Pew Research, just 3% of U.S. businesses were identified as Black-owned in 2020.  That’s even though Black adults comprise 12.4% of the overall population.  Removing this disparity leads to increased employment and economic growth.

    Black-owned business owners receive less financing than other races.  In 2022, the Federal Reserve reported that 35% of white business owners received all the funding they requested from a bank, compared to 16% of BIPOC (Black, indigenous, or person of color) business owners.  This lack of capital holds back business revenue growth and employment.

    Building a more inclusive economy leads to more community wealth for all.  One report from McKinsey & Company noted that closing the wealth gap could add $2 – $3 trillion of annual growth to our national economy.

    Learn More

    How Can You Celebrate Choose Black-Owned Month?

    Choose Black-Owned Businesses

    Support Black-owned businesses like Yahso Jamaican Grille in Keene and New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery in Winchester. Tell us about other Black-owned businesses you’ve discovered in our region and throughout the state. Please email us!

    In addition to eating at Yahso Jamaican Grille, you can support the restaurant owner’s pursuit of establishing the Keene Multicultural Center.  Gail Somers partners with Monadnock Arts Alive to launch a fundraising campaign to help establish the center.  She envisions a welcoming space that connects the community with economic and cultural resources.

    Learn More 

    Gail shared, “The Keene Multicultural Center will be unique in that it will help existing and new residents build social capital through access to meaningful culture in the form of arts, a shared space that builds community, and an incubation of community resources in a culturally sensitive way.”

    On March 2, starting at 6 pm, Yahso will host their first Togetherness Festival, a fundraiser for Keene Multicultural Center featuring music, spoken word, food, and good vibes. Stay tuned for more details!

    The more dollars we spend at Black-owned businesses in our community, the more dollars recirculate in the local economy, boosting job growth, charitable giving, and overall prosperity.

    Choose Black-Owned Business at Locally Owned Businesses

    Ask your favorite locally owned businesses if they carry products made or grown by Black-owned businesses.  Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene plans to call out Black-owned business products with shelf signs.  Look for these signs when you shop at the Co-op throughout February.

    Support Diversity

    On February 23, the Keene Family YMCA will join other YMCAs nationwide to promote their #WeWearBlack campaign.  Staff, members, and guests are invited to wear black to symbolize hope, awareness, and togetherness.

    “To be a welcoming community and ultimately a thriving community, we need to celebrate and embrace our diverse people and cultures,” said Dan Smith, CEO of the Keene YMCA.  “At the YMCA, we support Choose Black-Owned Month as one small way of doing so.  We see it as part of our commitment to becoming an anti-racist multicultural organization.”

    The Keene Y continues this work year-round by hosting the Monadnock Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Coalition (MDEIB). MDEIB works to promote and develop our region as a welcoming and inclusive place for all — including BIPOC individuals who live, work, and visit our community. MDEIB was formed in 2021, guided by the City of Keene’s Racial Justice and Community Safety Report. Partners include community members, businesses, organizations -- and maybe you?

    Learn More

    Make a Nomination: DEI Impact Award

    Celebrate Black History Month

    The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire will host the Elinor Williams Hooker Tea Talks both in-person in Portsmouth and virtually each Sunday in February and March 10, and April 21. This year’s theme is “A New Deal for A Great Society.” On February 4, the first discussion in the series centers on the Granite State government’s role in expanding economic opportunities and prosperity for all.

    View the Full Series

    Thank you to this year’s Choose Black-Owned Month Monadnock Region partners: Keene Family YMCA, Monadnock Food Co-op, TLC Monadnock, The Monadnocker, and Yahso Jamaican Grille.  And thank you! 

    Stay tuned for Choose Black-Owned Month updates and how we’re collectively building stronger local economies that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

  • December 31, 2023 7:18 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    As we wind down 2023, here’s The Local Crowd Monadnock’s top five Choose Indie Local highlights of the year -- events and promotions to inspire you to spend and invest your dollars at locally owned businesses to boost our community’s health and wealth all year long.

    We loved seeing so many of you dressed in plaid the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate Plaid Friday.  Heaven Hair Gallery Salon in Keene on Plaid Friday. From left to right: Victoria McIntosh, Torrie Rice, Brandon Norman, Anjalee Call, Alicia Berntsen, and Ashley Corrow.

    Plaid Friday

    Number one on our list, hands down, is Plaid Friday.  We loved seeing so many of you dressed in plaid the day after Thanksgiving to celebrate Indie Locals (locally owned and independent businesses) and the Local Economy movement. The nation saw record sales from Thanksgiving to Cider Monday.  Indie Locals in the Monadnock Region were busy, too!

    “[Plaid Friday] was a crazy busy but awesome day! There was excitement in the air,” shared April Reynolds of Norm’s Ski & Bike Shop.  “We served free hot cocoa, mulled cider, and Benjee's Cookies. Everyone loved the cookies! We had a great day -- and our customers were amazing!”

    Twenty-nine locally owned businesses served as Plaid Friday Hubs this year in Harrisville, Jaffrey, Keene, Peterborough, Spofford, Swanzey, Walpole, and Westmoreland. View this year’s Plaid Friday Hub photos on our Facebook page. 

    Independents Month

    July’s Independents Month is second on our list. It’s a time to recognize all types of independent businesses and celebrate their spirit of entrepreneurship, individuality, uniqueness, and character.

    For the second year, we invited our community to take the Indie Challenge and pledge to buy only from locally owned businesses for a day, week, or more.  Over 240 of you have taken the challenge so far! Our 2023 challenge-taker winner won a staycation to the Inn at East Hill Farm, plus other treats from Monadnock Region independents. Stay tuned for our next Indie Challenge in 2024.

    “This was a practice in being present for sure,” said Indie Challenger Barbara Davis of Alstead. “I would have to remind myself each time I needed to purchase something. I put a sticker on my car dash to remind myself.”

    Move Your Money

    We highlight Move Your Money Month each April. This campaign urges you to support community banks and credit unions and move more of your money from Wall Street to Main Street.  This is number three on our list!  However, this is number one on my personal list since I was hired in July to become editor of The Main Street Journal, a hub for local investing published by economist and author Michael Shuman.  Now I get to promote the Move Your Money message every week!

    “After investing in Wall Street for thirty-four years, I am really enjoying the idea of supporting my local community and small businesses,” shared Ivy Hess, a subscriber of The Main Street Journal. “I have made seven investments in 2023 and am looking to do more.  The Main Street Journal makes it easy to keep up with what is out there.”

    Celebrating Diversity

    Fourth on our list are two Choose Indie Local campaigns celebrating diversity: Shop Black-Owned Month in February and Choose Indie Pride in June.  Both campaigns work to make our spending and investing more inclusive and uplift what makes our community welcoming and unique.

    The Keene Family YMCA partnered with us during this year’s Shop Black-Owned Month.  “We already know that shopping local has tangible benefits and helps to build a strong local economy,” the Keene Family YMCA’s website states.  “By shopping Black-owned, you are voting with your dollar. You are voting for equity.”

    Giving Tuesday

    Last but certainly not least is GivingTuesday, a global generosity movement. Organizers share, “Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.”

    “This was, by far, our most successful GivingTuesday event in our history,” said Sarah Harpster, Executive Director of The Community Kitchen in Keene. “And it’s really helping set us up for entering the new year strong.”

    Entering the New Year Strong

    Your support for the Choose Indie Local movement this year sets us all up for a strong 2024.  Thank you, and Happy New Year, everyone!

  • November 28, 2023 8:24 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    In New Hampshire, we pride ourselves on our independent thinking, ingenuity, and self-reliance — qualities reflected in our entrepreneurial spirit. According to the Small Business Administration’s 2023 Small Business Profile, our state is home to 136,506 small businesses, comprising 98.9 percent of all New Hampshire businesses.

    Our small businesses also provide the bulk of jobs across the state, employing 49.2 percent of all New Hampshire private-sector workers. Thank you for all you do, small business owners!

    You play an essential role in supporting entrepreneurial success, whether you’re a small business owner, staff member, investor, or shopper.  As many of us look to share gifts and meals with friends, family, and coworkers, we can also give a gift to our small business community.  When making holiday purchases, Shop Indie Local and spend more of your budget at locally owned and independent businesses.

    Purchasing gifts, meal ingredients, and gift-making supplies from locally owned and independent businesses impacts a community’s job growth, charitable giving, and land use patterns.

    “Say you spend money at a local shoe store,” explains local economist and author Michael Shuman.  “Its employees then go to the supermarket, which might buy from a local farmer. The more times and the faster a dollar passes between hands without leakage, the more income, wealth, and jobs in a community.”

    Monadnock Region independent retailers sure do pass those dollars!  They recirculate, on average, $62 of every $100 spent at their businesses back into our local economy.  National chain stores return $14 of every $100 spent, while Amazon returns nearly zero.

    Give a Gift of Job Growth

    Local, independent retail businesses help employ many more people than those on the sales floor. They’re more likely to bank with local banks and buy from other local businesses than chain stores. They’re also more likely to hire local service providers like accountants, graphic designers, and various skilled positions — jobs for aspiring entrepreneurs.

    Give a Gift to the Nonprofit Community

    Local nonprofit organizations depend on contributions from local businesses. This support extends to civic institutions like schools, churches, and fraternal leagues that aid economic prosperity, community cohesion, and trust.

    Give a Gift of Vibrant Main Streets

    The rise of online shopping, undercutting Main Street retailers, also changes land use patterns.  Amazon doesn’t place its warehouses downtown but in remote industrial parks.  As demand for Main Street storefronts declines, so will local governments’ tax revenue base.

    You don’t have to swear off shopping with online giants or chain stores altogether.  However, we encourage you to look for ways to shift even one or two purchases to independent, community-based businesses this season.

    Need some inspiration? Check out our online marketplace called The Local Crowd Mercantile at  Discover gift ideas from 200 Monadnock Region businesses.  Thanks to Monadnock Food Co-op and Saving Bank of Walpole for allowing us to offer our online marketplace at no cost to participating businesses this year.

    Shop Indie Local Online

    Also, consider the many makers, artists, and manufacturers who produce their products in New Hampshire.  The Monadnock Region includes many small businesses represented in the Monadnock Arts Alive’s Creative Community database

    Also, don’t miss events like the Holiday Fair at Granite Mill in Harrisville on December 2 & 3, Holiday Shopping Night at the American House Keene Senior Living Community on December 4, Artisan Market at 17 ROX in Keene on December 9, and Last Minute Larry Holiday Arts Market on December 10 at Brewbakers Café.  Discover more events at

    So, give yourself — and your community — a gift this year by shifting more of your spending to our local merchants, service providers, artisans, and other locally owned and independent businesses. Happy Holidays!

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