Our Live Local Market place will launch in mid-October, giving Spokanites a one-stop shop for the best local businesses. From now until Oct. 15, we’re offering free business consulting and webinars to help our local businesses through COVID-19. Click the image below to register your business and sign up for newsletter updates.

A Special THANK YOU to the Spokane City Council for Funding Live Local!

By funding the public launch of Live Local INW with City of Spokane CARES Act dollars, we will have a fighting chance as an independent business community to get through this COVID crisis together – and come out stronger on the other side!
We will:
  • Launch a low-barrier online marketplace to provide e-commerce access to local businesses who have experienced a reduction in foot traffic due to the pandemic;
  • Encourage consumers to discover local goods and services that can be bought safely and conveniently in our market;
  • Re-circulate hundreds of thousands of dollars in our local economy, funneling resources to local businesses;
  • Feature local member businesses at no cost to them in campaign media spots;
  • Support the essential work that our neighborhood business districts do in creating centers of vital local commerce;
  • Create the “buy local” directory that consumers are demanding right now;
  • Provide free support and business consulting to businesses to both fully participate in the campaign and address unique business needs resulting from coronavirus market challenges; and
  • Build community and local business collective power!

Join us in thanking the Spokane City Council by sending a message to: citycouncil2@spokanecity.org

Stay tuned for more info!

Live Local Success!

Live Local has been incredible successful, with a ton of positive impact through our community. If you want to learn more about how Live Local has impacted our community, check the image below!

Why Live Local in the INW?

By choosing local and independent businesses for your services, shopping, dining and other needs, you not only enjoy a more distinctive and personal experience, you’re helping:

The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood–scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. They’re the ultimate social networking sites!

Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer) — a benefit we all can bank on.

Independent businesses help give your community its distinct personality.

Local stores enable you to try on and try out items before you buy — and get real expertise — saving your time and money.

Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution.

More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses keeps your taxes lower.

Reader surveys by the Consumers Union repeatedly show independent businesses beating their chain competitors in overall customer satisfaction (and often save you money).

Click to visit our campaign Facebook page.

A wide variety of independent businesses, each serving their customers’ tastes, creates greater overall choice for all of us.

The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.

Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

Local ownership of business means residents with roots in the community are involved in key development decisions that shape our lives and local environment.

Research shows a strong correlation between the percentage of small locally-owned firms and various indicators of personal and community health and vitality.


The Institute for Local Self Reliance: Why Local Matters

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation: For Entrepreneurs to Thrive, Policies Must Help Level The Playing Field

Beacon Economics Report: The Economic Impact of Buying Local

Michigan State University: An Assessment of the Economic Advantages of Shopping at Locally Owned Businesses

Meet Our Live Local Organizational Partners

Ben Cabildo

Ben Cabildo heads his own consulting firm, Ben Cabildo Consulting, and is also the President of Multi-Ethnic Business Association (MEBA), better known as AHANA, a Spokane based non-profit organization that supports and promotes Inland Northwest multi-ethnic and multi-cultural businesses and their communities. By strengthening AHANA, Ben’s goal is to effectively help build our community’s economic base. AHANA’s main project is a commitment to the Washington State Department of Commerce to help our multi-ethnic businesses navigate through the COVID crisis. Ben also spends time supporting the Filipino American Association of the Inland Empire (FAAIE). Growing up in Seattle and moving to California later, Ben knew little about Spokane until his sister asked him for some advice on properties she was purchasing here. When he visited, he fell in love with the open spaces in Spokane, the river, and far less traffic. While here, he invested in an apartment real estate venture, noting that it was quite affordable in comparison to California. After the Oakland earthquake in 1992, Ben moved to Spokane to pursue new ventures. In his spare time, he enjoys visiting with and helping friends, carpentry work, creating utility furniture for his home, and reading. He also enjoys kayaking on Silver Lake. Ben’s favorite vegetables are spinach and crispy bell peppers.

Melissa Huggins

Melissa Huggins is the Executive Director of Spokane Arts.  A graduate of Eastern Washington University’s MFA program and Pacific Lutheran University, Melissa has spent over a decade marketing and promoting authors and artists, and consulting on topics that include book promotion, media training, artist statements, and more. She is a prose writer, with articles appearing in Lilac City Fairy Tales, Railtown Almanac, the Oyez Review, and elsewhere. Her author interviews with Joyce Carol Oates, William T. Vollmann, and Emily St. John Mandel have appeared in Willow Springs. She headed the Get Lit! programs at Eastern Washington University for five years, which included organizing K-12 creative writing outreach initiatives and the annual Get Lit! Book Festival. In addition to her nonprofit work, she is a freelance copy editor and proofreader. Melissa is an avid sports fan and tweets regularly under the handle @MHuggins99.

Julie Shepard-Hall

Julie Sheppard Hall is the President of the Garland Business District, President of the Eastern Washington Association of Health Underwriters, a North Hill Neighborhood Council Board member and business owner of Integrity Insurance Solutions & ZipperZ Inc. When she gets some free time, she loves to kayak the Spokane River. Julie moved to Spokane in early childhood and has been proud to call Spokane her home since early childhood. As so many Spokanites do, she left Spokane to tend to other life situations and goals but came back permanently. She appreciates the size of our city, the ease of connecting with friends, and the wonderful things to experience in the Inland Northwest, such as beautiful parks, rivers and lakes. Her favorite vegetables are potatoes.

Megan Kennedy

Megan Kennedy founded Rogue Heart Media in 2011, operating the studio on North Monroe for the last four years, and is currently cultivating a growing team of values-driven nonfiction storytellers and actively pursuing a B Corp Certification. She loves the Spokane regional community, and enjoys serving when and where she can, from a neighborhood level with the North Monroe Business District and Emerson Garfield Farmers’ Market, to serving on the WQTIF committee for City of Spokane, and member groups like SIMBA and the local chapter of Executive Women International. Volunteering and serving with her nonprofit partners is a joy as well. She has two young kids that keep her busy. She loves to hike, camp, and canoe on family adventures, when she isn’t gardening, filming, or making photographs together. Megan came to Spokane right after graduating from WSU in 2005, and has been deepening her roots ever since. She loves our beautiful river, surrounding mountains, and our farm country. Exploration and enjoyment of the outdoors is always top pick for her and her family. Megan loves veggie medleys… variety is the spice of life. But for favorites, give her some brussels sprouts, garlic, and sweet potatoes to roast up and she is a happy camper.

Larissa Warren

Larissa Warren is the owner of Bee You Organics, a small, family owned business that believes in education, health and people. All Bee You Organics products are gluten free, zero waste and cruelty free. Larissa is also the President of the South Perry Business & Neighborhood Association (SPBNA), a non-profit founded in 1999 as a way to strengthen the community and the businesses in the South Perry District. SPBNA works with the neighbors and business owners to put on numerous events each year that make the District a wonderful place to live, work, play, and worship. Larissa’s goal with SPBNA is to build more community. She’s lived in the Pacific Northwest on and off since 1992, making Spokane her permanent home in 2013, noting that it was the closest “big little city” to her family. When she gets some spare time, Larissa enjoys playing in the great outdoors, beekeeping, and spending time with her family and friends. Her favorite vegetables are peppers.