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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

Shop Local Raleigh Celebrates their 2020 Annual Meeting

Mar 03, 2020 01:30PM ● By Madison Callahan

Sponsors and Coordinators of the Shop Local Raleigh Annual Meeting 2020

Shop Local Raleigh and the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association (GRMA) held their annual 2020 meeting Tuesday, February 25th. Responsible for some of the biggest events in Downtown Raleigh, such as the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade and Brewgaloo, Shop Local Raleigh works to show residents of the City of Oaks that choosing to spend their money with local businesses helps to grow the local economy. Following along with their mission statement “Connecting, Supporting, and Growing, Independent Businesses to Strengthen & Enrich our Community,” the Shop Local Raleigh meeting aimed to gather small business owners in the Raleigh area, foster connections, and provide an update on the state of the organization.

The event speakers featured local leaders as well as past and present board members. Following opening remarks from Kris Weiss of Tobacco Road Harley Davidson, executive director Jennifer Martin addressed the current state of Shop Local Raleigh. Martin shared the achievements of Shop Local Raleigh in the past year, including officially surpassing the 1,000 members mark, and Brewgaloo, a local two-day beer festival in Downtown, which claimed USA Today’s #1 spot for Best Beer Festival in America for 2019. Brewgaloo’s success is impressive, considering it hosts over 50,000 people downtown and is run by just a few staff members and volunteers. In addition to the success of events of 2019, the meeting featured the announcement of new office space for Shop Local Raleigh. Taking over the empty building at 4001 Hillsborough Street, the organization plans to not only use the space for staff offices and meetings, but also provide rentable workspaces for local businesses and start-ups. Martin said she hopes for the new office to be “a billboard to our community that local and independent businesses do have a presence, do have a voice, and [they] are making a presence in our community.”

Mark Weldon, Raleigh’s Economic Development Manager, and former Shop Local Raleigh Board President, also spoke on his new role with the City of Raleigh and how he is using his new title to advance existing businesses. Weldon aims to focus on place-based economics, utilizing the existing features of the Raleigh community to promote economic growth and bring more diversity to local commerce. Lisa Jefferies followed Mark, with a quick synopsis of current media trends.

Next, Donald Thompson of Walk West spoke on leadership and innovation in small business development. Thompson shared an anecdote from his childhood when he began his entrepreneurship endeavors selling candy to his classmates until he got in trouble with his teachers. Providing existing and up-coming business leaders solid advice, Thomas also mentioned the importance of connecting with other business owners and not being afraid to seek mentorship stating, “your network is your net worth.”

Several local businesses sponsored the event including Oak Park Shopping Center, City of Oaks Dental, LiveItUp Hillsborough Street and more. Refreshments were provided in part by Gabi’s Grounds Coffee Shop, a non-profit started by a young woman from Raleigh with Downs Syndrome. She aims to start an all-inclusive coffee shop to “provide quality jobs for individuals with different abilities.” Gabi’s Grounds is offering a blend of coffee crafted by Larry’s Coffee to help raise the funds to open her coffee shop.

Event Speakers From:

Shop Local Raleigh:

City of Raleigh Economic Development:

Walk West:

Tobacco Road Harley Davidson:

Event Sponsors:

Oak Park Shopping Center:

The Eye Institute:

Advantage Lending:

Azura Skin:

City of Oaks Dental:

Barringer Construction:

Fidelity Bank:

Live it Up Hillsborough Street:

Rush Hour Karting:

Brand CAm:

The English Garden Raleigh:

CEI Strategic Systems:

RL Photography:


Galatea Boutique:

Barre-Up Raleigh:

Harmony Farms:

Raleigh Homes Realty: