When StayLocal began in 2001, our founders sought to encompass not just the popular “shop local” rhetoric but to capture something greater. Our organization’s name represents more than just shopping at a local boutique or bookstore. “StayLocal” is a call to action for consumers, businesses, organizations, and residents to steadfastly support our local economy and community.
StayLocal's work is three-fold:
- We educate consumers on the benefits of keeping their dollars local
- We actively promote independent shops and service providers
- We help businesses stay competitive through workshops, networking events, policy initiatives, and advocacy work.
StayLocal is devoted to raising the visibility and viability of locally-owned businesses because we believe they are the backbone of New Orleans’ culture, economy and character. Read more about "Why Local".
We're the organization that's in your corner. StayLocal shares pertinent resources and opportunities to the businesses in our network. If you need a hand finding the right service provider, or you're running into issues that require policy action, or anything else, we're here to help.
We're advocates for New Orleans’ independent businesses. StayLocal works at all levels of government, from local to national, to ensure public policy benefits you. If you're a local business running into any barrier to success our door is always open.
We help local businesses by securing exclusive offers and opportunities. These include advertising discounts in New Orleans' most popular publications, member-to-member discounts, and access to exclusive events.
Our programming provides businesses with the resources you need to run a better business and it connects you with fellow entrepreneurs and potential customers. Our year-round workshops, innovative programming, and independent business meet-ups are intimate events designed to sharpen your skills and strengthen your network.
We educate consumers on the importance of supporting locally-owned businesses and help connect them to local options. StayLocal has verified every businesses listed on our website as "certified locally owned and independent," so if you spot a business displaying our decal around town, you can be sure they're local. We also feature local businesses on our website, in our neighborhood guides, in our marketing campaigns, as speakers at our events, and through our extensive social media network.
StayLocal’s parent organization, the Urban Conservancy, was founded in 2001 by two New Orleanians frustrated by the lack of transparency and opportunity for public input in suburban style big box developments being wedged into New Orleans. The small business community along Magazine Street, a prominent economic corridor, came together under the Urban Conservancy’s leadership to oppose the construction of a Super Walmart in a historic neighborhood as well as the massive tax incentives the national chain was receiving at the expense of existing independent business owners.
By 2003, the Urban Conservancy’s founders, Geoff Coats and Ed Melendez, were ready to trade in the reactive “anti-Walmart” message in exchange of proactive support for local businesses. That’s when they founded StayLocal.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Geoff and Ed received funding to hire StayLocal’s first full time-employee, Dana Eness, who has served as the Executive Director since 2006. Over time, StayLocal’s staff and scope of work has continued to grow. With 3 full-time employees, StayLocal has two main goals. First, to promote the benefits of shopping, sourcing, drinking, eating, supporting, and loving local. Second, to keep New Orleans’ businesses competitive and connect them with local consumers.