Our Live Local INW Market place launched in mid-October, 2020, giving Spokanites a one-stop shop for the best local businesses. During October 2020, SIMBA offered 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!
Over the course of two years we have:
  • Launched a low-barrier online marketplace to boost sales for local businesses with reduced foot traffic due to the pandemic;
  • Marketed Live Local goods and services to consumers; providing third-party validation
  • Re-circulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in our local economy;
  • Featured local member businesses at no cost in our campaign media spots;
  • Supported neighborhood business districts do in creating centers of vital local commerce;
  • Created the “buy local” directory that consumers are demanding right now;
  • Provided free support and business consulting to businesses to address unique business needs; and
  • Built 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 incredibly 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 and shopping, you enjoy a more distinctive and personal experience, and you’re also helping:

The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood 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 three 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 you time and money.

Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, are located 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 a 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, AHANA

Ben Cabildo

Ben Cabildo heads his own consulting firm, Ben Cabildo Consulting, and is also the President of the Multi-Ethnic Business Association (MEBA), better known as AHANA. AHANA is 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 build our community’s economic base. AHANA’s works with the Washington State Department of Commerce to help our multi-ethnic businesses navigate the COVID crisis. Ben also spends time supporting the Filipino American Association of the Inland Empire (FAAIE). Ben loves Spokane’s open spaces, the river, and less traffic. 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, Spokane ArtsMelissa 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. She also consults on 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, Garland Business DistrictJulie Shepard-Hall

Julie Shepard 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. In her free time, she loves to kayak the Spokane River. Julie moved to Spokane in early childhood and has been proud to call the city her home.  She appreciates the size of our city, the ease of connecting with friends, and the beautiful parks, rivers, and lakes. Her favorite vegetables are potatoes.

Megan Kennedy, Rogue Heart MediaMegan Kennedy

Megan Kennedy founded Rogue Heart Media in 2011, operating the studio on North Monroe for the last four years. She is currently cultivating a growing team of values-driven nonfiction storytellers and actively pursuing a B Corp Certification. She has previously worked with the North Monroe Business District and Emerson Garfield Farmers’ Market, the WQTIF committee for the City of Spokane the local chapter of Executive Women International. 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. 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. 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, Bee You Organics

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. With her spare time, Larissa enjoys playing in the great outdoors, beekeeping, and spending time with her family and friends. Her favorite vegetables are peppers.

Looking for our current job openings? Visit our Job Listing page here: https://spokaneindependent.org/job-listings/