Take 5 with Amanda Converse of Love Live Local

March 19, 2021

What is the name of your business; what services and/or goods does it provide?

Love Live Local is a Cape Cod nonprofit organization dedicated to community advocacy and educating consumers on the importance of shopping local. Our mission is to foster an economically sustainable, creative and exciting future for the Cape and help all those who love this place participate in keeping it special.

Our aim is to work with local businesses to achieve their economic goals, and communicate their importance to the sustainability of the Cape Cod community as a whole, as well as foster community connection among individuals and organizations in order to improve the overall health of our region. We achieve this through collaboration with small local businesses and organizations, producing community events, publishing annual publications, sharing digital communications, and representing local brands and makers in our retail store.

When and why did you start your organization?

Love Live Local was founded in 2013 by Jen Villa, Kate Sheehan and me as a year-round lifestyle guide. We wanted to share stories about the people and places through the eyes of small business owners. That is probably why it evolved into a local business advocacy organization, sharing the how of supporting our small businesses owners through our digital communications, publications, festivals and retail store, but also information and data on why it is so important for our community and our local economy. In the beginning of 2020, we officially became a nonprofit organization. We want to provide a strong voice for the small business community and advocate for them in meaningful ways.

What is your favorite aspect of operating a nonprofit? Least favorite (only if you’re up for sharing this)?

My favorite part of running a nonprofit is connecting with consumers and policymakers through our work and providing them with the tools, information and motivation they might need to support our local businesses in whatever way they can. What keeps me moving forward is the thought that maybe we are having an impact on the long-term vitality of this community. Without our local businesses, this place we love so much simply cannot thrive, and if we can open people’s eyes to that and help our local businesses succeed, I feel like we are doing good work. My least favorite part is knowing there is so much more we could be doing – there just are not enough hours in the day!

Thoughts on how the regional economy will change – hopefully “bounce forward” – as vaccinations become widely available?

The forecasts for this summer on the Cape are already hopeful, and as vaccines become more widely available, they can only improve, so I do believe we are in for a strong summer season. Of course, our small businesses’ ability to capitalize on the large numbers of people who visit and stay here this summer will depend on the less restrictive guidelines I can only hope will also accompany higher vaccination rates.  I do also believe that more and more residents have realized just how important it is to support small businesses in our community year-round. Ninety percent of our businesses on Cape Cod have 20 or fewer employees – supporting them by thinking local first and shopping local whenever possible can have a major impact on our regional economy. In a study we released last year, our researchers found that shifting 10% of spending to local retailers, instead of shopping with large corporations, would put an additional $112 million in the Cape Cod economy every year. That would certainly have an impact!

Why do you use a payroll service, and why a local one?

When you run a nonprofit or a small business there is so much to think about; it is always nice when you can take something, like managing payroll, off your plate. We only work with local businesses for so many reasons. Beyond the fact that it is in our mission, we feel local service providers like BizChecks Payroll are more invested in the community and so they are naturally more invested in us. They want us to do well, because our success is ultimately their success, which is also Cape Cod’s success. We also know local businesses like BizChecks reinvest their dollars and energy into our local economy, which is incredibly important for the health of our community.

Photo via Facebook.