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BWLF has been dormant since 2018

Belmont Watertown Local First ceased operations in 2018.
This site remains up for historical reference, but is no longer maintained. Thanks for visiting.

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Hello! Thanks for your visiting our site. As of 2019, Belmont-Watertown Local First's website is no longer being updated, but, as always, we urge you to shop local, independent businesses like those listed here. Peruse the site to find great local indie businesses, and to learn why shopping local and independent matters.

Welcome to Belmont-Watertown Local First

Belmont-Watertown Local First is a network of locally owned, independent businesses, in partnership with community members, working to build a strong local economy and a vibrant community.

We love the people, the architecture, and the unique stores and shops that give Belmont and Watertown their special flavor. We’ve all seen the damage that can be done to a city when chain stores arrive: raising the rents, homogenizing the look and feel, driving out locally owned shops and stores and taking away a city’s distinctive character. It is a Belmont-Watertown Local First priority to prevent this from happening.

The character of our community is worth preserving. We hope you will join Belmont-Watertown Local First as a general or sponsoring member, or as a community associate, and help us work to strengthen the vitality of the community we cherish.


Congratulations to Eastern Bank, a Sponsoring Member of Belmont-Watertown Local First! On December 8th they will receive the Second Annual Sustainable Business of the Year award, which recognizes the commitment of businesses to building a more sustainable local economy. Eastern won in the large business category; there are four other winners (not our members). For more information about the other winners and the awards event visit www.sbnmass.org.

They surely deserved to win. In addition to supporting local businesses, Eastern Bank’s mission includes reducing their environmental impact by working cooperatively with all stakeholders to promote best practices; sponsoring and participating in educational outreach concerning environmental issues; and continually developing and executing environmentally sustainable practices, products and services. Eastern Bank provides sustainable employee benefits including discounted MBTA passes, preferred parking for carpools, green dry cleaning and provides CSA shares at their operations center. Eastern Bank was the first bank to participate in SBN’s Sustainable Business Leader Program and their 152,000 square foot headquarters is the largest certified building to date.

Way to go, Eastern! And thank you, as always, for your support of our organization.


There's an alternative to investing with big national corporations: Invest locally! Learn how: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/like-shopping-at-local-businesses...

Speaking of money, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has a wonderful article on banking written by Stacey Mitchell as the cover story for Sojourner Magazine. Check it out at http://ilsr.org/banking-for-the-rest-of-us/

Here's her summarization of her research, boiled down to the Top 5 Reasons to Bank Local and Independent:

1. Get the Same Services at Lower Cost

Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.

2. Put Your Money to Work Growing Your Local Economy

Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.

3. Keep Decision-Making Local

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also member- owners.

4. Back Institutions that Share a Commitment to Your Community

The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks and credit unions are involved in their communities. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

5. Support Productive Investment, Not Gambling

The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.

Member Profile

Owner Anne Gates founded PINECONES AND NEEDLES because she wanted to provide a space where families gather together, reconnect, explore a way of living closer to nature, and rediscover a deep respect for life cycles. The company's mission is to provide an alternative environment and community where families will find inspiration and support on how to live and provide a simpler life for their children. Pinecones & Needles offers crafting classes and drop in crafts for children and adults alike, and offers a wide selection of eco-friendly Waldorf inspired toys for all ages as well as a large selection of European toys. So come by and meet Anne and her friendly and talented staff; we look forward to seeing you. Sign up for classes, drop in to craft, buy a gift, and treat yourself. Come chat, craft, and play!

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by Dr. Radut