Ledyard National Bank

Ledyard National Bank Sponsors 19 Days

Local First Alliance isn’t just about keeping money in our local economy; it’s also about giving back to the community we call home. Local First Alliance member Ledyard National Bank will be standing behind this statement on December 1 as an underwriting sponsor of The 19 Days of Norwich campaign. This holiday local-spending campaign, created by Dan Fraser of Dan & Whit’s in Norwich, raises donations for the Upper Valley Haven, which provides shelter, food, and services for people experiencing homelessness. Now in its second year, Local First Alliance businesses will help Norwich expand this exciting project throughout the Upper Valley.

The premise of the campaign is simple. This December 1-20, participating locally owned businesses will donate 1% of their sales of a specific product, service, or their overall sales to the Haven. Through a series of events, discounts, and promotions, shoppers are encouraged to shop locally and make their dollars count. As this year’s holiday season fast approaches, Local First Alliance members from throughout the Upper Valley have joined the effort to promote shopping locally and encourage this important reinvestment in our community.

The concept arose in 2013 when Fraser discovered that the Haven was experiencing a severe shortage of food around the holiday season. He quickly mobilized the town of Norwich and its local business owners, recruiting Norwich businesses to donate “1% for the Haven” in what became “The 19 Days of Norwich.” The effort raised $27,860 and 12.5 tons of food for the Haven. This year, with Ledyard National Bank as a sponsor and the participation of Local First Alliance members, we can expect another impressive outcome.

“I am doing this because we need to be aware that right here in Norwich, and throughout the Upper Valley, hunger is an issue for many people,” said Fraser, a Local First Alliance member. “I started this because our friends and neighbors are the ones in need – these are the people who we work with, children who attend our schools, families that live next door to you or just down the road. I am thrilled that Local First Alliance is pairing with us in this effort. People are slowly realizing that supporting local business matters. Money spent locally stays local.”

On top of their donation, Dan & Whit’s is also selling a cookbook with all proceeds going to the Haven. Breakfasts, canned food drives, wine tastings, open houses, and holiday specials will be available throughout Norwich and the Upper Valley during the 19 days. Shoppers can stop by Dan & Whit’s or a participating businesses. You can find a calendar of ongoing events here.

Local businesses interested in joining “The 19 Days of Norwich” campaign may contact Emily@VitalCommunities.org.

Mascoma Savings Bank

Champion Member Mascoma Savings Bank

Local First Alliance works to support our local independent businesses. I often hear people say, “I shop locally when I can,” or “There a few local restaurants I always go to.” My response to that is, “GREAT! Those are wonderful ways to reinvest in our community.”

I do, however, know that it’s not realistic to expect someone to buy EVERYTHING locally. Local First Alliance simply asks you to “Think Local First” whenever possible. Buying local isn’t always about the items you purchase – it’s about the service providers you choose, too.

Mascoma Savings Bank is one of Local First Alliance’s Champion members. A mutually owned business, Mascoma answers directly to its customers and puts significant time and money into the community. I wanted to see for myself just how this bank reinvests our hard-earned, local dollars, so I Googled “Mascoma Savings Bank Sponsorships.”The first page of results showed Mascoma’s support of the Hartland Farmers’ Market, the Upper Valley Haven, the Upper Valley Music Center, and the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. This is our local bank supporting our local causes. Not national organizations, but the small ones that are close to home.

As a Local First Alliance member, Mascoma Savings Bank has made a commitment to support our region’s economy. All of our members have. So, the next time you are thinking of a place to shop, or eat, OR bank, we ask that you take moment and “Think Local First.” Keep your money hard at work in the Upper Valley.

contest winners 2014

Winners Named in Competition

Winners have been named in Vital Communities’ first-ever Upper Valley High Communications Competition: Forrest Mattern for Print PSA, Ashley Fogg won for Television PSA, and Nate Guarino won for Radio PSA. All hail from Hartford and are seniors in the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center’s Media Arts program taught by Felicia Allard. Their public service announcements support Local First Alliance, answering the question: Why is it cool to shop at locally owned businesses?

“We are thrilled to have been a part of this process and were overwhelmed by the submissions,” said Mundy Wilson Piper, owner of Chippers, which will help promote the winning print PSA. “It was an amazing and inspiring collaboration between the students, Local First Alliance, and the school.”

“Students had the opportunity to work with industry professionals from King Arthur Flour, Co-op Food Stores, and WPTZ, which inspired creativity and some very valuable portfolio work,” added Local First Alliance Manager Emily Gardner.

Submissions from 13 students were evaluated and winners selected by the Local First Alliance Steering Committee. The winning print PSA will run in the Valley News and on the side of a Chippers truck, and the winning radio PSA will run on Great Eastern Radio stations. Each winning artist received a $150 cash award courtesy of Lake Sunapee Bank, Ledyard National Bank, and Mascoma Savings Bank. The winning television PSA will run on WPTZ, and the winner received an iPad courtesy of Systems Plus Computers. The awards were presented at the HACTC senior awards banquet on Thursday, May 22.

Forest Mattern – Print PSA

Ashley Fogg – TV PSA

Nate Guarino – Radio PSA



Local First Alliance

John Ring (CPA)

Local First Alliance is a coalition of independent business owners that have made a commitment to support each other and strengthen our region’s economy. We look for members who ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to reinvesting in our Upper Valley economy.

John Ring, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), is the definition of a vested Local First Alliance member. What sets John apart from others in his field are his devotion to the Upper Valley and his connection to its heritage. He has lived in the Upper Valley for more than 40 years and is proud to be an 11th generation Northern New Englander hailing from such trail blazers as Daniel Webster and the Vermont poet/abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. Born and raised in Claremont, N.H., John now works out of his home in Norwich, Vt., and has been a CPA since 1971.

“Local First Alliance matches my personal beliefs as a local”, says John. “I only represent local clients and I’m happy when they’re successful. Having grown up in Claremont, I’ve experienced first-hand what happens when we lose our local businesses and only focus on price and convenience.”

Aside from calling this area home, John makes a concerted effort to shop at, and do business with, other Local First Alliance members and locally based businesses. A huge advocate of recycling and environmental sustainability, John also has a personal goal to free himself of the use of any internal combustion engines.

Ledyard National Bank

Ledyard Bank

Ledyard National Bank has been an Upper Valley institution since opening in 1989. Now with seven branches and two Ledyard Financial Advisors offices across the region, the Local First Alliance member strives to give back to the community through a variety of innovative programs. Through a recent campaign encouraging customers to switch to e-statements, for each conversion Ledyard donated a tree for planting in conjunction with the Connecticut River Watershed Council. The bank has also rolled out a new mortgage product to support the purchase of manufactured homes; geared toward low- to moderate-income households, the program serves an often overlooked population in the region. These are just two examples of how the bank helps customers in the local community “Plan well. Live well.”

Local First Alliance

Upper Valley Students Compete in Communications Competition

Aspiring graphic artists and communications professionals at the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center are competing to create new public service announcements for Local First Alliance, a program of Vital Communities. The ads will answer the question: Why is it cool to shop at locally owned businesses?

“Local First Alliance is focused on supporting a vibrant local economy. The first-ever Upper Valley High School Communications Competition engages students to help us spread the message of how important and fun it is to shop at locally owned businesses,” said Local First Alliance Administrator Emily Gardner. “The contest will provide powerful marketing resources for our program while giving students valuable experience collaborating with industry professionals and showcasing their work to the community.”

The Upper Valley High School Communications Competition is a pilot project in 2014, focusing on students in HACTC’s Media Arts program taught by Felicia Allard. The Local First Alliance Steering Committee will select winners in three categories: print, television, and radio. The winning print PSAwill run in the Valley News and on the side of a Chippers truck, and the winning radio PSA will run on Great Eastern Radio stations. Each winning artist or team will receive a $150 cash award courtesy of Lake Sunapee Bank, Ledyard National Bank, and Mascoma Savings Bank. The winning television PSA will run on WPTZ, and the winner will receive an iPad courtesy of Systems Plus Computers.

Due May 14, submissions serve as the students’ senior projects and help strengthen their portfolios as they pursue college and jobs. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 21, with awards presented at the HACTC senior awards banquet on Thursday, May 22.

Three Tomatoes

Three Tomatoes and North Road Sugar Works

Local First Alliance businesses strengthen the Upper Valley economy not only through their own work but by supporting each other. Three Tomatoes Trattoria in downtown Lebanon exemplifies that practice. With the belief that “living and working in the community is a privilege,” Three Tomatoes Trattoria provides a gathering place where neighbors and friends can connect over fresh, authentic, simply prepared Italian meals in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant takes pride in sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers, and actively participating in the good work that best serves the people who live in the Upper Valley.

Another Local First Alliance member, North Road Sugar Works in Vershire, is a new nonprofit organization aimed at establishing an educational sugarhouse while stimulating the local economy and community. Founder Marc McKee, who has 25 years of experience sugaring at Vershire’s Mountain School, is working to build an efficient, sustainably constructed sugarhouse that can serve as a model for “responsible” sugaring and open up discussions about the impacts of climate change on maple trees, “the love and lore associated with maple production,” and the challenges for the industry moving forward. Look for North Road Sugar Works to open (fingers crossed) in Spring 2015.

1 2