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October 23, 2021

Think Local First

Last year challenged us, not just globally and nationally, but, especially, locally. We know what happened here with the businesses shutting down and stay-at-home demands. Compounded by our local fires, we witnessed firsthand how small local towns band together and support their own. I wrote about many of them in this column. Had we not supported our local businesses, it is almost guaranteed many would not be here today.

I know Danny Reber, executive director of the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Janette Larkin, who hosts the Think Local First Radio Show program, but had not met Cami Corvin, the executive producer.

I knew only a bit about Think Local First. I did not realize it was a nonprofit organization, nor was I informed about how they support local businesses here and other surrounding counties? Thank you, Danny, for the heads-up.

Did you know?

Go to thinklocalsantacruz.org, and you will discover why small towns matter and how supporting local business helps communities thrive. According to their website, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $48 continues to circulate within the community vs. $14 from a non-local business. Other studies say as much as $85 stays local.

I was aware KSCO radio dedicated a talk show platform promoting locally-owned businesses, but later learned they have gone from a one-hour program to two. 

Enter Corvin. Our interview enlightened me to several important facts about Think Local First, and its mission. As a locally-owned business myself, I was excited to learn more.

TLF history 

In 2007, 10 locally owned businesses formed a mission to promote and sustain economic vitality while preserving the unique character of Santa Cruz County. Besides Santa Cruz, they provide services to San Benito, Monterey and other surrounding counties.

“TLF started as an all-volunteer organization with hundreds of member businesses, all of which understand the link between a unique, thriving local economy and nurturing a vibrant locale,” Corvin said. “It’s a simple concept, really: what goes around comes around. It’s about creating community together.”

Think Local First’s accomplishments are many.

Their mission has helped preserve the character of local businesses, promote and increase awareness, and “championed the adoption of Local Business Preference Ordinances in the city and county.”

Corvin is not only an executive producer of Think Local First for the past three years; two years ago, the 30-year paralegal veteran started Corvin’s Legal Services, a mobile notary and signing agent for loan signings and refinancing. “How we do what we do at TLF is through our marketing, our website, the two-hour KSCO radio program,” she said. “We dedicate the first hour of exciting topics to business owners and a platform for local cities and governmental agencies with local information.”

Mostly, Corvin says she “wants to help teach us that the sustainability of any community depends on local business and how we support our local mom and pop business.” She continues, “we have had an influx of real estate investments from other counties buy here from over the hill and we want to encourage and help educate them that while Santa Cruz is notable a tourist town, our long history of family-owned businesses has sustained us, and to maintain our local charm and sustainability, we must shop local.”

Corvin says they have Think Local First has “expanded our marketing, promotional, and advertising platforms. Any local business can list their business for free, and other networking and advertising programs are available. We want to be the driving force behind getting locally owned businesses noticed.”

After interviewing Cami, I visited their website, signed up for one of their listing options, and learned more about how important local business is to my business and personal needs.

Yes, Think Local First!


Janet Janssen, coach, trainer, and public speaker, lives in Felton. She offers locally owned businesses and their team how to increase greater influence and impact to enhance their customer service, sales, and online presentations and training. She is also membership chair of Toastmasters Intl, 831-Storytellers in Scotts Valley. Contact her at [email protected] or at 831-335-0553.

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