Your insider scoop into Local First, community happenings, events, news, & more!

Your insider scoop into local happenings, events, news, & more!

Greetings Localist,

How did February fly by so fast? The team at Local First has spent the last month diving deep into our meaningful work and looking at what lies ahead, while also managing to find time to enjoy the wonderful snow. In February, we gained valuable insight from our members in the Annual Member Survey that informs our organization's next steps to enhance our member program. We advocated on behalf of the local, independent business community at key meetings and forums across the county. And, the Local First team shared two full days together strategizing for 2023 and beyond at our Spring Staff Retreat!

Local First CEO, Lauren Berutich has truly hit the ground running. In her first 45 days as CEO, Lauren has engaged in community conversations with our business members and partners to address the key challenges facing our community including food security and environmental health. Notably, Lauren gathered with organizations serving La Plata County to explore and discuss sustainable, co-operative solutions to our community's current housing crisis. Stay tuned for ways to get involved!


Since the announcement of Bright Health's departure from the market, Local First staff have been active in addressing affordable healthcare. Doug McCarthy, our Health Advocate, is working closely with members of Peak Health Alliance to identify a low-premium healthcare carrier partner for our region.


Be a part of the change! We would love for you to join the local movement. Give today to join Local First in our efforts to shape a community and economy that values people, planet, and prosperity for all. Learn more by visiting our website. Stay tuned as we prepare to relaunch our localist program with new benefits and ways to engage. Thank you for your passion and dedication to our organization. Together, we can truly make a difference.

With plenty of programs, plans, and events in the works—we are really looking forward to the month ahead! You'll find relevant events, workshops, and information from around the community detailed in the newsletter below.


In gratitude,

- The Local First Team

Doug McCarthy, Lauren Berutich, Louise Snodgrass, Natalie Martin, and Lauren Best (pictured left to right).

P.S. Happy Women's History Month! DYK 87% of Local First business members are women-owned? Look to our social media this month as we highlight the local, women-owned businesses in our community.

Calling all Local First Members!

Join us for our first monthly Member BASH (Business Alliance Social Hour) on Wednesday, March 8th at EsoTerra Ciderworks in Downtown Durango.

These monthly meet-ups will take place every second Wednesday of the month and will be a opportunity for our members from all areas of industry and profession to have fun and connect while also exchanging ideas and opportunities to engage deeper in our community.


Free to all Local First members! RSVP encouraged here.
Big thanks to EsoTerra Ciderworks for hosting this month's BASH!


Explore Local
with the Be Local Book

Deciding what to do over the weekend? Looking for a lunch spot you've never tried? Want to treat yourself with something new to you? Crack open the best trail guide in town—the 2023 Be Local Coupon Book!

SHOP, EXPLORE, and LOVE LOCAL with $4000 dollars worth of savings at over 260 local favorites and experience lots of extra fun along the way. The Be Local Coupon Book is good all year long, so grab your self a copy by visiting any of the retailers below.

  • 2nd Ave Sports
  • 4Corners Riversports
  • Affordable Framing
  • Animas Trading Co.
  • April's Garden
  • Artesanos Design Collection
  • Backcountry Experience
  • Crows Closet
  • Durango Natural Foods
  • Durango Welcome Center
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Maria's Bookshop
  • Nature’s Oasis
  • No Place Like Home
  • Pet Haus
  • Pine Needle Dry Goods
  • Pine Needle Mountaineering
  • Rivergate Pharmacy
  • Smart Enterprises
  • Sunnyside Market
  • Twilight Toys
  • Urban Market
  • Wagon Wheel Liquor

City Council Candidate Forum hosted by Boulevard Neighborhood Association
March 5th | 2PM

The Boulevard Neighborhood Association is hosting a question-and-answer forum with Durango City Council candidates from 2 to 4 p.m. March 5 at First Presbyterian Church, 1150 East Third Ave.

The purpose of this forum is to encourage residents from all Durango neighborhoods to meet the City Council candidates. Light refreshments will be served. Questions from the public can be submitted up to 5PM on Saturday, March 4th. Email questions to Russ Kimble, BNA board member, and include your contact information. Candidates will not recieve questions prior to forum.


Path to Homeownership Workshop
March 8th | 5:30PM

Experts at The Wells Group Real Estate, HomesFund and local lenders are offering several 1-hour workshops to educate buyers about mortgage loans and down payment assistance programs geared toward helping locals purchase a home. This snapshot is an introduction to the more in-depth class offered by HomesFund. The workshop goal is to empower future homeowners with the hope and skills of becoming a homeowner.

Please RSVP to Monique Flora, Durango North Star.


Heritage Seed Sale
March 12th | 10AM - 2PM

We can't be the only ones ready to get our hands in the dirt and watch good things grow! Join the Garden Guys, Darrin Parmenter & Tom Bartels, on 3/12 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds for a Heritage Seed Sale! 40 different herb and veggie varities will be available. Contact Darrin Parmenter for more info.


4CORE Rain Barrel Sale
Happening now!

4CORE's annual Rain Barrel Sale is happening now! Rain harvesting is a great way to conserve water and water-consciously care for your garden. Limited quantity is available and they sell fast. More info about the barrels and group by details can be found at


City aquires 49 acres to expand Oxbow Park

Earlier this month, the city of Durango obtained 49 acres north of Oxbow Park. The doubling of the park is exciting many with the potential recreational and preservation opportunities. Read more in the Durango Telegraph...

New Report: Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar are spreading at an unprecedented rate.

According to the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, chain dollar stores are targeting vulnerable communities, opening stores at a breakneck pace in urban and rural areas alike. It’s tempting to assume that Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Family Dollar simply fill a need in cash-strapped places. But the evidence suggests that dollar stores are not merely byproducts of economic distress; they are a cause of it. Read more in Institute of Local Self-Reliance's report...


Be Local Radio Show is LIVE on KDUR (91.9FM and 93.9FM) every Thursday at 9am! Be sure to tune in for the best local stories, features, and news. Find the following episodes and more by visiting Local First's Soundcloud.


EP 206: Shaping Sustainable Community

Lauren Berutich, Local First CEO, visits the KDUR studio for an inspiring discussion on sustainable community development. Tune in for this timely reflection on the challenges our community faces, what a more sustainable vision of Durango's future could look like, and how we can get there by working together.


EP 205: Four Corners Slow Money

Linda Illsley, member of Four Corners Slow Money, joins us to discuss their peer-to-peer funding that provides 0% loans for our agriculture producers in the Four Corners region! Tune in for an impactful conversation about re-localizing our food system and how we all can take part in shaping positive change in our communities.


EP 204: Primi Pasta and Wine

Now celebrating three years of Primi, Tracy and Jarrod Regan join the Be Local Radio Show to share what sparked their fast casual Italian concept and how they share this inspiration with their staff. Tracy indulges us with details of italian wines and Primi's wine club, and Jarrod shares the importance of local foods and working with area procuders to craft seasonal menus.

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Local First PO Box 2058 Durango, Colorado 81302 United States (970) 799-6618