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  • 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.

  • 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!

  • October 26, 2023 8:25 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Ask a Local: A New Way to Support the Shop Indie Local Movement

    The Local Crowd Monadnock Member Marketplace connects locally owned businesses with other locally owned businesses -- and businesses with community members like you. Marketplace members can showcase their best products and services to reach more local customers like you!

    Learn More

    Post a Request

    Stay Tuned for More Answers

  • October 24, 2023 8:06 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    From our Thanksgiving meal to our New Year's Eve celebration, we’re purchasing more of our holiday gifts and celebration needs from our friends and neighbors -- locally owned business owners.  Learn more and Shop Indie Local!

    Ask a Local: A New Way to Support the Shop Indie Local Movement

    Exciting news! Member Marketplace, Inc. selected our region to help test out their new Member Connection Marketplace for free. The Local Crowd Monadnock Member Marketplace connects locally owned businesses with other locally owned businesses -- and businesses with community members like you. Marketplace members can showcase their best products and services to reach more local customers.

    What I love most about this software is that it lets you ask a local. Share whatever you’re looking for and then locally owned member businesses can respond directly to your request.  I posted a request for unique gift ideas and four locals immediately responded to me with fantastic ideas (see their suggestions below).

    “The new platform emphasizes building connections between users through social options that include likes, shares, and direct messaging on posted services, products, promotions, specials, and events offered by member businesses,” said Cherie Edilson CEO of Member Marketplace.“Chambers of commerce and other member-based organizations constantly seek innovative ways to enhance the membership experience, and in today’s dynamic landscape our marketplace is not just relevant; it’s essential as these organizations look to thrive in the digital age.”

    Give our new Member Marketplace a try and let us know what you think. The more we use it, the better it becomes.

    Post a Request

    “Much like the old yellow pages, most directories you see online today simply list businesses by category, offering minimal assistance in helping customers address their specific needs,” commented Cherie. “In sharp contrast, our connection marketplace empowers users with more useful information to discover, connect, and engage with local businesses at a whole new level to solve their needs.” 

    Shop Indie Online

    Also, check out our TLC Monadnock Mercantile, a regional online marketplace featuring diverse products and services from locally owned businesses. Our virtual store compiles gift ideas, gift cards, and restaurant take-out options -- all in one place. Best of all, it is free for locally owned businesses to participate.  

    The site includes 200 businesses offering fabulous gift ideas for your loved ones.  Many thanks to Savings Bank of Walpole and Monadnock Food Co-op for sponsoring TLC Monadnock Mercantile.  

    Shop Indie Local Online

    Get Ready for Shop Indie Local Week

    The week after Thanksgiving is a super busy one for the Shop Indie Local movement as we celebrate Plaid Friday, Small Business Saturday, Artists Sunday, Cider Monday, and Giving Tuesday.  Learn more!

    Plaid Friday

    For the fourteenth year, independent businesses and community members in the Monadnock Region will celebrate Plaid Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. This year's event falls on Friday, November 24, 2023. Wear plaid on Friday to show your support for our local economy and commitment to buying local this holiday season.

    Learn More: Plaid Friday

    A number of locally owned businesses will serve as Plaid Friday Hubs this year.  Hubs pledge to photograph you decked out in plaid and answer questions about Plaid Friday.  TLC Monadnock will post all Plaid Friday photos throughout the day on our Facebook page.

    Find a Hub Near You

    Small Business Saturday

    While Plaid Friday overshadows Small Business Saturday in our region, we encourage everyone to celebrate this event, too.  One way to participate is to play Shop Small Bingo.  Download your bingo card at No matter how you get involved, every little bit makes a big difference.

    Artists Sunday

    November 26 is Artists Sunday, an art shopping movement of over 4,500 artists and organizations coming together to encourage consumers to shop with their favorite local artists and makers during the holiday season. Think of it as Plaid Friday but for the arts. Learn more!

    Cider Monday

    Instead of Cyber Monday, a day when online merchants offer special deals, we invite you to Cider Monday.  On November 27, stop in for free cider from participating Cider Monday businesses.  Also, if you choose to shop online, choose local too!  Learn more!

    Giving Tuesday

    A global generosity movement, Giving Tuesday on November 28 encourages you to give any way you can.  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.” Learn more!

    Why Shop Indie Local?

    Where you spend your hard-earned dollars matters. Your choices create a ripple effect that starts with you and extends out to our entire region and local economy. Shop Indie Local (shop at independent and locally owned businesses) and the positive ripple effects grow. 

    When you spend your dollars at locally owned retail businesses in the Monadnock Region, four times more money returns to our local economy than if you spend that same dollar at a chain store.  Spend a dollar at an independent business and 62 cents return to our local economy. (Spend it at a chain store and only 13 cents return; spend it at an online giant and only a couple pennies return.)

    Those 62 cents recirculate through our economy, generating ripple effects that increase job growth, charitable contributions, and community prosperity.  If everyone shifted just 10% of their purchases from national chains to locally owned retailers, we would return $27 million to our regional economy annually.

    We Asked a Local

    What did locally owned businesses share when we asked for unique gift ideas? The Hannah Grimes Marketplace shared their Holiday Season Gift Baskets, “Unique local baskets make your business gift giving easy for you and memorable for your gift receivers. These five baskets are our most popular, but we’re happy to create custom-designed baskets for your individual needs.” 

    Mash Note Beer offers fun ideas for beer lovers, like their upcycled beer can ornaments while Keene International Market has Scandinavian and European goods and gift baskets.

    LuvINK&Paper sells crafting kits to inspire more creativity this holiday season.  Visit our website for links to these gift ideas and more:

    Together, we're generating ripple effects that create new jobs, charitable contributions, and community prosperity -- what a gift!  Thank you for supporting the Shop Indie Local movement.

  • October 20, 2023 11:20 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We invite businesses and organizations to participate in the Monadnock Region's Plaid Friday event on Friday, November 24.  Celebrate in creative ways that work best for you, your staff, and neighborhood.

    Here's one great way to participate: Become a Plaid Friday Hub

    As a Plaid Friday Hub, your business commits to:

    • Printing out and posting our Plaid Friday Poster before the event
    • Having you and your staff wear plaid on November 24
    • Photographing customers who visit your business wearing plaid (browse past year's photos for inspiration)
    • Sharing information about Plaid Friday with all your staff, clients, and customers

    Other Ways to Participate in Plaid Friday

    Here are some other ideas -- but get creative, too!

    • Encourage your staff (and your partner’s staff) to wear plaid (Not open on Plaid Friday? Check out what Badger Balm does the day before Thanksgiving)
    • If you offer any holiday specials/sales/event, please share them with us and we'll post them on our Plaid Friday Members Specials Page
    • Create a display featuring locally made items
    • Use plaid ribbon, tissue paper or buy local bags
    • Add #shopindielocal and #plaidfriday to your social media posts

    If you'd like to serve as a Plaid Friday hub this year, please contact us today.

    I want to be a Plaid Friday Hub

  • September 25, 2023 8:56 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This October, celebrate the arts during Choose Indie Art Month hosted by the American Independent Business Alliance. We’ll recognize all types of artists -- crafters, painters, musicians, actors, writers, and others -- and boast about the positive impacts artists have on our community and local economy.  Celebrate with us!

    "The Monadnock region has a thriving arts scene," shared Jessica Gelter, Arts Alive Executive Director. "There are over 2,500 people employed at arts organizations and as gig workers. The best way to support the arts is to buy local!"

    Four Reasons to Celebrate

    The arts mean business: In 2021, the art sector made up 4.3 percent of the US economy -- greater than construction, transportation, or agriculture industries -- and included 4.9 million workers.  The arts also mean revenue for other local businesses, as each arts event attendee spends an additional $31.47 at neighboring stores, restaurants, and hotels.

    Art boosts our well-being: A national opinion poll from the Americans for the Arts found that 69 percent of us believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 81 percent shared that the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world.”  Recognizing the healing power of art, about half of US hospitals offer arts programming.

    Art brings us together: 72 percent of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity,” and 73 percent agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better.”

    Art inspires creativity:  A Journal of Business Research study found that displaying art in the workplace boosted employees’ creative thinking.

    “The arts are the lifeblood of our communities, raising morale, creating community cohesion, and providing comfort during dark times while also delivering a huge economic footprint,” said Nolen V. Bivens, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “And it is more important than ever that everyone take part to recognize the creative and cultural value of the arts and humanities in our communities.”

    Learn more

    Fours Ways to Celebrate

    Shop Indie Art: Look for opportunities to purchase art and creative works from Monadnock Region artists.  Here’s one option coming up soon: The 50th Annual Cheshire Craftsmen Fair on October 7 and October 8 from 9 am – 3 pm at the Keene Recreation Center.  Shop early for unique holiday gifts, including home decor, quilted items, jewelry, soaps, woven items, quilted crafts, pottery, fleece and felted crafts, framed photos, wooden toys, wooden crafts, candles, and more.

    Attend an art event or take a tour:  Here are two fantastic chances to meet local artists and see where they work.  The Monadnock Art Tour and Fall Foliage Art Studio Tour both happen the weekend of October 7 – 9.  Other event ideas: Enjoy an event featuring live music like the Mole Hill Revival at Mole Hill Theatre in Alstead on October 7.  Take a walk around downtown Keene’s public art murals painted in 2019 by The Walldogs, a group of over 200 sign and mural artists from around the world. If you prefer a guided tour, register with the Historical Society of Cheshire County (tickets are $10 per person). Whether film, theatre, music, or visual arts events, discover them all!

    Discover more events

    Take a class: Get your creative juices flowing by signing up for a class or two.  The Harris Center will offer a Nature Photography 101 on October 7.  Check out all the creative offerings happening at MAXT Makerspace in October at  From dance classes to theatre coaching, find more educational opportunities.

    Browse many more classes

    Show your art: Join #ShowYourArt, an Instagram challenge hosted by Americans for the Arts.  They want to “inspire your creative spirit and showcase the culture that makes our communities unique and vibrant. And whether you post once or all month long, you’ll be part of the movement showing the power and purpose of the arts and humanities across all parts of life.”  Learn more.

    Stay tuned for more Choose Indie Arts news, events, and inspiration 

    Choose Indie Art is part of a larger Choose Indie Local year-round movement.  Together, we inspire our communities to take positive action and boost the ripple effects our neighborhoods, towns, and cities receive when we spend and invest more of our dollars at locally owned, independent businesses.

    Thank you to our local Choose Indie Art partners: Arts Alive, Alicia Drakiotes Studio, Monadnock Food Co-op, Shaker Style Handcrafted Furniture, The Local Crowd Monadnock, and The Monadnocker.

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