Join JP Local First and be part of a growing community whose members help each other.
JP Local First is a member-run non-profit. Many businesses and nonprofits become JPLF members as part of their marketing strategy; others become members as a vehicle for supporting local economy advocacy and because they believe it is important to inform consumers and spread the good word!
Becoming a member puts your business or non-profit on the map, with an automatic listing in our Online Local Business Directory, our printed Directory, our social media boosts, our New Mover Kit, our networking opportunities, and general public visibility from our consumer education efforts.
Membership also gives you access to a powerful network of like-minded local business owners that are working to build community resilience, promote each others’ businesses, and support sustainable environmental policies—all of which grow the local economy.
Membership Levels / Types
- Business Membership: $132/year ($11/mo if you use Paypal)
- Non-Profit Membership: $60/year ($5/mo if you use Paypal)
- Sponsor Membership: $600/year (opportunity to more significantly support JP Local First; receive additional visibility on our website, in the annual paper directory, and on other promotional materials throughout the year)
- Individual or Family Membership: $60/year
All members are given an individual featured profile in the Online Directory here on the JP Local First website. You are given a personal login that enables you to update and edit your listing any time you want. JPLF is also working to advance its website to make it:
- More welcoming and navigable for members to use, including from mobile devices
- More welcoming and navigable for shoppers and members of the community
- Drive more traffic to members’ websites and social media
- Educate shoppers and help the learn how to shop locally
Each year, JPLF updates and prints a beautiful and colorful Directory of member businesses, including ads and photos of the community. We print 7,500 copies and distribute them to the public by: providing copies to members to distribute to customers and shoppers and clients at their businesses/nonprofits, providing copies to libraries, and distributing them at farmers markets and other public events where JPLF staff set up outreach tables to engage the public. The aim is to provide shoppers, consumers, and community members with guidance and encouragement and new awareness that helps them learn about and locate local independent businesses and nonprofits in the area. As a member, you’ll automatically have your business name and information listed in the directory. Members can also purchase a full-, half-, or quarter-page advertisement in the printed directory.
To receive additional copies of the directory, contact Adam Gibbons, director of membership.
Social Media Boost
Daily retweeting of your business’s Tweets and reposting of your Facebook Posts to JP Local First’s Twitter Feed (1,400 followers) and JP Local First’s Facebook page (525 followers). Events, promotions, and highlights posted by your business are frequently retweeted and posted. Members frequently express their appreciation for how consistent JPLF is in retweeting their business’s tweets and Facebook posts on a daily basis and how helpful that is to their business.
Window Decals / Vehicle Magnets
Display a JP Local First decal (ten inches in diameter) on the front door or window of your business – or attach the magnet version of the decal to your vehicle – to let customers know that you are a locally owned independent business and to raise their confidence in shopping at your business. Customers walking by will recognize a local and independently owned business by the sticker or magnet and will be encouraged to shop there. The stickers and magnets support JP Local First’s effort to raise public awareness about the benefits of shopping locally.
New Mover Kit
Members can pay an additional $150 to have their business’s or nonprofit’s coupon/announcement included in the New Mover Kit (the $150 covers printing and mailing costs for the year). The New Mover Kit is a packet (containing the coupons, a Welcome to the Neighborhood letter, and a JPLF refrigerator magnet) that JPLF assembles and mails out to 100 new residents who have just moved to the area within the last month. These packets (sent via US Mail in an envelope to the new resident) offer a great way for members to directly engage customers, especially those that are new to the area and are beginning to figure out where to shop, eat, get resources, play, learn, take classes, hire contractors, etc. Participation in the New Mover Kit must be renewed each year – the $150 makes sure your coupon is included in the packets mailed out each month from September through June of the following year. Members need to sign up for the New Mover Kit by August 31 each year when we assemble the coupons and get all the materials printed for that year’s New Mover Kit.
Networking Opportunities & Peer Support
- Member Forum on the Website: Members can post notices/news about their business/nonprofit, make requests, share resources, and ask/answer questions with each other.
- Steering Committee Meetings: All members are invited to the monthly Steering Committee meetings (meets on the second Thursday morning of each month, at 8:30am at Eastern Bank, 687 Centre Street) to bring new ideas to JPLF, raise concerns, and contribute insights on JPLF initiatives.
- Free Mentoring: JPLF will help facilitate local business advising: pairing a business owner with another who has had a similar prior experience or concern (whether it be related to marketing, purchasing, landlord or other question) to help better navigate the terrain as a local and independently owned business in our neighborhood.
- Occasional Networking Meet-Ups: Convened when members and resources are available, these gatherings help business owners share ideas, resources, and referrals, and usually take place on a weeknight evening. We encourage members to take turns hosting them. More than half of each meeting is used for informal unstructured networking with, a chunk of time at the end for discussing a key question members want to discuss related to current needs or concerns in the business/nonprofit community.
- Occasional Brown Bag Seminars: Members are invited to bring their lunch and attend any portion of these roughly 1-hour workshops, each focused on a different topic that our membership has expressed interest in. Come for 5 minutes, or stay for the whole hour. Experts from various fields present information and engage members in Q&A. Members have asked for seminars on business formation, marketing, branding, financial planning, accounting, capital, and more. Members with particular expertise and experts from within and outside the community are encouraged to contact us with a proposal for a seminar.
- Regional Partner Organizations: JPLF shares with its members any notices about concurrent events held by our regional partner organizations including the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts
Consumer Education / Outreach
- Local First Fair: JPLF members are invited to participate in our next Local First Fair on Thursday, June 20, 2019, on the lawns of Loring-Greenough House from 3:30-8:00pm. The first Local First Fair was held in September of 2017. The event involves over 50 members setting up tables (free of charge, courtesy of JPLF) and over 2,500 shoppers / community members attending, visiting tables, and learning about JP Local First members and the Shop Local movement. Only JPLF members are eligible to participate, and the event takes place during the regular and very popular Thursdays On The Lawn events at Loring-Greenough.
- Tabling at Public Events: JP Local First distributes consumer education materials, such as our “Why Shop Local” flyer (in English and Spanish) and staffs an outreach table at relevant local events such as farmers markets, parades, and festivals. We target high traffic areas, raising awareness about JP Local First member businesses and nonprofits, the JP Local First network, and ways that consumers can increase and improve their local shopping habits.
- Raising Visibility: JPLF partners with local newspapers and online media to highlight stories and accomplishments of individual businesses, updates on the local economy, and articles on the many benefits of shopping locally. These Business Spotlights are linked to JPLF’s own website. Additionally, JPLF advertises in small amounts on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to boost the visibility of our contests and events to consumers.
Commercial Space Initiative
JP Local First introduces locally owned independent businesses (that are seeking to lease or purchase a commercial space) with property owners seeking new commercial tenants. Our attention is especially focused on the many new real estate development projects being planned and being built along Washington Street. Developers have told us that they want to lease to locally owned independent businesses, but that finding candidates is challenging and time consuming since there is no one source they can go to (whereas with national chains, it is easier for developers to find them and connect with a chain’s full-time staff member that manages their franchise development). Thus, JPLF seeks to facilitate local independent businesses being able to connect with real estate developers and agents. We will not manage any relationships – we will simply introduce businesses and developers to each other and let them take it from there. (This initiative was begun in August 2016 thanks to a grant from the Boston Impact Initiative).