Co-op Full Color logo

Co-op Food Stores: Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.

Since 1936 The Co-op Food Stores has been nourishing our community through their stores, educational activities, and community support. The co-op is owned by more than 20,000 families, and is one of the oldest and most successful co-ops in the United States. Anyone can shop, member or not. They also employ close to 400 people and have nearly 300 local suppliers, which means their impact ripples throughout our community.

Local First Alliance began as a Co-op local economy building initiative almost 10 years ago. The Co-op believes that a strong local economy keeps our community strong and resilient and started LFA to build support among the business community and to educate the community of the value locally owned businesses bring to the Upper Valley.

Co-op Food Store

The Co-op engages in dozens of community building project including Pennies for Change, which collected more than $264,000 last year for Upper Valley nonprofits (include 2,023.66 for Vital Communities!). The Co-op also supports the work of dozens of organizations doing good around the Upper Valley with food and product donations and staff community service hours. The Hanover Cooperative Community Funds supports Upper Valley nonprofits through annual donations and the Co-op recognizes the value of community service with the King Award each year.

When you shop at the Co-op Food Stores, you are not only buying the freshest products with a focus on locally sourced, at a fair price,  you are also supporting thier ability to strengthen our community in a multitude of ways. Nourish; cultivate; cooperate; because community matters.


photo credit: Molly Drummond

The Skinny Pancake is the October BOM!

Celebrate our wonderful, community-building, locally owned businesses with

Local First Alliance Business of the Month (BOM)

The Skinny Pancake will be our October featured business with a delicious promotion and engagement opportunities.

Our friends and neighbors are the people behind the amazing locally owned business and the BOM program is a way to learn about all the ways they support our communities (job creation, charitable giving, civic engagement, economic impact) and to thank them for all they do to make the Upper Valley a great place to live, work, and play.

Visit the BOM during the promotion and learn about the often overlooked value that locally owned  businesses contribute to our communities while taking advantage of the personal attention,  expert service, and unique products they provide.

Skinny Pancake Logo

Join the Celebration October 10-27 and enjoy a delicious bonus!

Visit The Skinny Pancake October 10-27 and  thank them for being such valuable community members and get a free group munchie with purchase of two meals (crepes, salads, and dinner plates)!
Learn about Local First Alliance , snag a Love Local bumper stickers,  and enjoy a locally sourced meal at Skinny Pancake.

Keep your dollars circulating through our economy and support our locally owned businesses!

Future BOMs:

November – West Lebanon Feed & Supply

December – Hubert’s of West Lebanon

January – Norwich Bookstore

Member Resources for Holiday Promotions

Trying to compete with box stores and online retail advertising budgets ability to dominate many marketing channels means that locally owned businesses need to be creative and work collaboratively. Plaid Friday and Cider Monday are grassroots campaigns that have spread nationally and are a good way to combat Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Small Business Saturday is an American Express initiative that provides outreach and resources for participating vendors. Local First Alliance will be promoting all of these local focused shopping days with our general outreach and marketing.

November 24
Plaid Friday

Plaid Friday started as answer to Black Friday. The name is based on the concept of plaid fabric where each thread is interwoven with others much like how independent small businesses are an integral part of the fabric of the community.

Many communities nationally celebrate shopping local on the Friday after Thanksgiving with in-store events, social media contests, and other creative ways to engage customers. Local First Alliance will promote your store events and be hosting a ‘plaid photo’ photo contest. This is still in development – stay tuned for more info.



November 25
Small Business Saturday

American Express’ “Shop Small” campaign is in its 7th year and reported $15.9 billion spent at independent retailers and restaurants on the day in 2016. Learn about how your business can use the vast marketing network of American Express and other resources they have developed and provide for free.

November 27
Cider Monday

Cider Monday initiated by a New Hampshire based Local First group- Monadnock Buy Local and Toadstool Bookshop, an independent bookstore. The idea came about as a rebuttal to Cyber Monday by highlighting the expert service and relationships that are part of the local shopping experience. The businesses offered free cider to customers and other in-store events which is something online retailers can not do.

Local First Alliance will be promoting any and all events you have built around Cider Monday or any of the above campaigns, so let me know what you have going on.





Lufkin presentation

Lunch & Learn Presentation Recap

If you missed the LFA Lunch & Learn series, here is some useful information shared at these sessions.


Energy $avings for Small Businesses focused on business cost reduction through increased energy efficiency.

A look at the breakdown of energy usage for New England Commercial Buildings gives business owners an idea of what is likely utilizing the most energy in their establishment. As anyone who has spent a winter in the Upper Valley could guess, the largest percentage of energy was spent on heating. The percentage spent on heating is truly astounding- 43% of ALL energy is spent on heating, more than double the next closest energy sector!!

These are several programs available to small businesses in the region to get rebates for efficiency across multiple utility companies. A valuable tool to identify programs that could be useful to your business is the Small Business Energy Efficiency GuideIf you have specific questions about available resources to make your business more energy-efficient, email Paige Heverly, the Energy Project Coordinator. 


On August 13 Doug Lufkin, Lufkin Graphic Designs, put on a great presentation, Web Marketing for Small Businesses. Doug took the complicated world of  Search Engine Optimization and almost made it easy to understand. The bottom line is that a small business should consider who you want to visit your website and then select a few words or phrases that your perfect customer would likely type in the search box and then be sure to include those words in your website, blog posts, and on social media.

Engagement is also an important factor that will affect your visibility online. Comment, like, respond with all online engagement opportunities as a way to boost your ranking in search engines.


KAF display 9.1.17

King Arthur Flour is the BOM!

Introducing a new way to celebrate our wonderful, community-building, locally owned businesses:

Local First Alliance Business of the Month (BOM)!

Throughout the year we will be highlighting specific Local First Alliance members by celebrating with in-store promotions and engagement opportunities.

Our friends and neighbors are the people behind the amazing locally owned business and the BOM program is a way to learn about all the ways they support our communities (job creation, charitable giving, civic engagement, economic impact) and to thank them for all they do to make the Upper Valley a great place to live, work, and play.

Visit the BOM during the promotion and learn about the often overlooked value that locally owned  businesses contribute to our communities while taking advantage of the personal attention,  expert service, and unique products they provide.


Join the Celebration September 18-30 – Free Stuff!

Visit King Arthur Flour Bakery + Cafe from September 18-30 to thank them for being such valuable community members and pick up a free baguette! Learn about Local First Alliance , snag a Love Local bumper stickers and a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase from King Arthur.

Keep your dollars circulating through our economy and support our locally owned businesses!

Future BOMs:

October – Hubert’s Family Clothing & Skinny Pancake

November – West Lebanon Feed & Supply

Fat Hat logo

Hats for Whatever Shape Your Head is In

The Fat Hat corner in Quechee is a land mark most Upper Valley residents know. The funky old car, the lawn art, and now featuring Chef Brad’s Crazy Sides (another LFA member!). This  bustling retail corner is a far cry from the humble beginnings of Fat Hat Clothing more than 35 years ago when Joan Ecker was sewing hats under in a tent and selling them out of the back of an old Volvo.

Today F.H. Clothing Co. has a retail store in White River Junction (across from Northern Stage’s new theater) in addition to the main store in Quechee, an online market, and is carried by dozens of stores nationwide. With grit and determination, Joan Ecker built thins thriving local business. Read about the history of this local business on their website.

In addition to producing stylish, comfortable clothing (all made in the US…on purpose), their two stores carry gifts, menswear, and more creating a truly unique Upper Valley shopping experience.

Fat Hat2017 credit Molly Drummond (4)

And, if wonderful, high quality clothing isn’t enough, F.H Clothing donates dozens of fat hats to cancer patients going through chemo therapy. They also participate in the Job Shadow project of Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership. This spring they hosted 4 young young women for the job shadow day mentoring the next generation of female business owners.

These are only a few of the ways F.H. Clothing supports our community. Visit F.H Clothing for unique clothes and cool gifts, and to support a business that gives back to the community.


F.H. Clothing Co.
“Hats for whatever shape your head is in”

Quechee, Vermont 05059
M-S 9:30AM – 5:30PM
Sun 10AM – 5PM
(802) 296-6646
White River Junction, VT 05001
W-S 10:30AM – 4:30PM
(802) 698-3329


photo credit Molly Drummond


Great Eastern Radio

Local First Alliance Lunch & Learn Series

Local First Alliance Member Professional Development & Networking Opportunity

Lunch & Learn Series – 
Bring or buy a lunch and learn from LFA members this summer. Free for members, $10 non-members.


9/13- Driving Traffic to Your Website, The Co-op Food Stores Culinary Learning Center, Lebanon
Learn how radio can be an important partner in your web marketing efforts from Marc Berman, of Great Eastern Radio. Register here.

Marc Berman is retired from a thirty-year career in commercial radio station ownership as senior executive and partner in broadcast companies, both publicly and privately held.

He is Chairman Emeritus of the New England Public Radio Foundation, licensee of western New England’s regional National Public Radio (NPR) stations.

He is adjunct professor at UMass/Amherst where he teaches The Business of Media.

An investor in and consultant to companies involved in commercial and non-profit broadcasting and affiliated industries, he is Senior Advisor to Great Eastern Radio and Nantucket NPR.


Past events:

8/22- Web Marketing for Small Businesses, Noon-1:00pm
 King Arthur Flour conference room, Norwich
Good marketing needs to convey who you are, attract and inform your audience, and be professional. Doug Lufkin, of Lufkin Graphic Designs and an LFA member, will share his insights and experience from more than 25 years in the business.

7/25- $$Energy$$ Savings for Small Businesses, Noon-1:00pm
Vital Communities conference room, White River Junction
Hear from Sarah Brock, Vital Communities Energy Program Manager about the resources (rebates, incentives, etc) available to small businesses on both sides of the river.


Questions? Email or call 802.291.9100 x106

Locally Owned Businesses Drive Our Local Economy

The following opinion article appeared in the Valley News last week after the closing of Everything But Anchovies, a local Hanover restaurant that had been feeding Dartmouth and our larger community for 38 years. You can also read the May 17 Valley News article about the restaurant’s closing.

Local First Alliance supports independent locally owned businesses by promoting shopping local in the Upper Valley. Scroll down to learn the benefits to our community when you keep it local!


We’re Losing More Than EBA’s Pizza

Thursday, June 8, 2017 — The closing of Hanover’s Everything But Anchovies has left us with more than just hunger pangs. The shuttering of a local business — be it a restaurant like EBAs or any other enterprise — weakens our regional economy in ways not easily corrected.

Hardest hit are the workers. Even a short disruption in cash flow makes it hard to retain housing or buy necessities. These neighbors deserve our empathy and encouragement as they hustle to replace lost income. When we choose to do business with locally owned businesses, our patronage lowers the risk of layoffs and creates more jobs.

Chain restaurants, stores and franchises do have considerable impact on local employment. These firms employ our neighbors, who offer friendly service and work hard to earn our business and trust. National and international chains have deep pockets, but their owners and shareholders live outside our region, so more of their profits flow out of the Upper Valley.

Locally owned businesses “play a key role in forming the foundation of community life,” notes Judy Wicks in her book, Good Morning, Beautiful Business. 

Owners of local businesses make extraordinary contributions to social programs, the arts and charitable organizations. While some businesses based far away make generous contributions to local needs, some have policies that restrict giving.

Small businesses are the “best contributors to economic development,” adds Wicks, an entrepreneur and founding member of the localism movement. According to a 2010 Michigan State University Study, $73 of every $100 spent at local businesses stays in local economies. By contrast, only $43 of $100 spent at non-local businesses stays close to home. Local businesses and local patronage power local economies.

If we all did at least 10 percent of our shopping at locally owned businesses, we’d give a substantial financial boost to them. The negative effect on big chains would be slight. But — as the closing of Everything But Anchovies demonstrates — if customers shift 10 percent of their dollars away from locally owned businesses, the impact can be disastrous.

Spending locally may ask us for an added measure of faithfulness. Our loyalty may mean driving a little farther, or spending a bit more on goods and services. But shopping locally supports a vibrant business landscape. Only local spending can ensure us access to local goods and services, from the service station that keeps your car running to banks committed to local investment.

As we lament the loss of Everything But Anchovies, let’s use its closing as motivation to increase our patronage of local businesses. At our Co-op, we know that businesses, farms, food producers and service providers nourish community by cultivating cooperation. It takes work and commitment from all involved, but we all share in the long-lasting benefits of homegrown prosperity.

Bill Craig, President,

Ed Fox, General Manager

Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society 



A Strong Economy and Vibrant Community

When you patronize a local business instead of a chain store or shop online, you are helping to keep our community economically strong and diverse. Here are just some of the benefits:

BUILD COMMUNITY! 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!

STRENGTHEN YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY! 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.

SHAPE OUR CHARACTER! Independent businesses help give your community its distinct personality and character.

YOU CAN BUY IT WHERE YOU TRY IT! Local stores enable you to try on and try out items before you buy — and get real expertise — saving your time and money.

CREATE A HEALTHIER ENVIRONMENT! 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.

GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY! Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

LOWER TAXES! 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.

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

CREATE JOBS AND OPPORTUNITIES! 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.

Keep it local and look for the logo!

Find a Local First Alliance business



Congratulations Communication Contest Winners!

Local First Alliance hosted the 4th Annual Upper Valley High School Communications Competition with the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center’s (HACTC) Media Arts class this spring. As part of the student’s year-end project, the class designed a marketing campaign promoting Local First Alliance, and specifically the value locally owned businesses bring to our community.

Local First Alliance (LFA) members with communications, marketing, and design expertise visited the students three times during the semester to provide guidance as the project progressed. The campaign needed to include print ad, radio spot, and video. The professional mentoring from LFA members gave the students experience that could prepare them for a career in media art and the quality finished project is a wonderful addition to thier portfolios.

HACTC Media Arts teacher, Felicia Allard, appreciates the partnership with Local First Alliance, “The students used to create ad campaigns for imaginary products that I would make up. Partnering with Local First Alliance gives the students the chance to create a campaign for something that is real and part of our community. It is a win-win for everyone.


August and Nancy cropped  IMG_20170613_143738

Congratulations to the winners!

Print: August Kuhn
Radio: Nicole Walker, listen to radio PSA here
Video: Shannon McGonis, view video PSA here


The winning ads will be used in Local First Alliance’s ongoing outreach campaign. The print ad will be seen around the Upper Valley on a Chippers bucket truck. The radio ad will be heard on several Great Eastern Radio stations, and look for the video on Facebook. Each winner received a $100 gift cards to Lebanon Village Pizza courtesy of Great Eastern Radio.

Many thanks to Nichole Romano (Great Eastern Radio), Ruth Perkins (King Arthur Flour), Tom Hoyt (Mascoma Savings Bank), Erika Gavin (Co-op Food Stores), Jennifer Sensenich (DailyUV), Allison Rogers Furbish (Vital Communities), Michael Cyr (Skinny Pancake), BOb Sherman (Great Eastern Radio), John Tunnicliffe (King Arthur Flour), Michelle Ollie (School for Cartoon Studies).  Special thanks to Chippers and Great Eastern Radio for supporting this project.

Think Spring with Local First!




A picture is worth 1000 words and this Local First Alliance ad that recently ran in the Valley News shows the power of our local economy (click here to view ad). With close to 100 members, Local First Alliance works to add resilience to our economy by encouraging shoppers to think local first when in the market for groceries, banking services, a gift, a restaurant, clothing, landscaping services, or building supplies.


LaValley Building Supply and Chippers are examples two long time LFA members that support our communities while providing unique and quality products and services. Both businesses are a great place to start when considering yard and home projects this spring.

With ten stores from Rutland, Vermont to Hampton, New Hampshire, LaValley – Middleton Building Supply is the largest independent building materials supplier in Vermont and New Hampshire. In an effort to provide quality and affordability for their customers, LaValley’s expanded into manufacturing trusses, panelized homes, garages, sheds, and energy efficient modular homes through Preferred Building Solutions.


Chippers color logo


Over the past 30 years Chippers has grown to provide more services, too. Today Chippers is proud to be a client-oriented and environmentally-centered green care company that specializes in exceptional tree, landscaping, land enhancement, woodlands, garden, turf care and maple sugaring services. The Chippers mission is to exceed client expectations through personalized service, professionalism and quality workmanship and with a staff of professional arborists, turf and soil care specialists, land enhancement experts, and garden enthusiasts this is the season to contact Chippers for all your landscaping needs.

This spring think local first and support the locally owned businesses that are integral to our communities and have a focus on quality and customer service.


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