Sustainable Connections celebrates local business in July

The nonprofit Sustainable Connections has planned several events and initiatives in July as part of the organization’s “Independents Month,” which celebrates locally owned businesses.

– The first annual Whatcom Wine and Spirits Fest will be held on Sunday, July 21, at Bellewood Acres. Attendees can enjoy more than 40 different local wines and spirits to taste, live music, games and barbecue fare. Tickets are available online for $20, or at the door for $25, and include a commemorative glass with eight tasting tickets.

– “Bank Local First,” now in its second year, offers guidance to people who want to move their money into a locally based community bank or credit union, and provides a directory of local financial institutions on its website.

– A “Spin to Win” Sustainable Connections booth will be at the Bellingham Farmers Market on Saturday, July 6, and Saturday, July 13. Participants will have a chance to win copies of the 2013 Where the Locals Go! Coupon Book, bumper stickers, buttons and special prizes donated by local businesses.

– A Think Local First Crossword Puzzle can be found on a special Independents Month directory of local, independently owned businesses, which will be included in issues of The Bellingham Herald and Cascadia Weekly in July. Readers can complete the crossword puzzle and submit it to Sustainable Connections for a chance to win tickets to the Whatcom Wine and Spirits Fest. The crossword will also be available on the organization’s website.

– Every year, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducts an annual survey of independent businesses across the nation to assess the previous year’s revenue and holiday sales for retailers. Whatcom County businesses participate annually. The survey has found that businesses in communities with “buy local first” initiatives, such as Sustainable Connections’ “Think Local First” campaign, report annual average growth of 8.6 percent, compared to 3.4 percent for businesses in cities without such initiatives.

More information about Sustainable Connections’ Independents Month can be found online.

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