About Us

Who We Are

Our Mission                                Collaborate  -  Educate  -  Promote

At Dane Buy Local, our mission is deeply rooted in three core principles: to educate the public about the profound benefits of prioritizing local businesses, to actively promote our members and their products and services within the community, and to foster collaborations with like-minded organizations, all with the aim of realizing our visionary goals.

Our Vision

We envision a local economy that is not only sustainable and resilient but also characterized by fairness, creating vibrant communities that residents take immense pride in calling home. We strive for an educated public that discerns the true costs associated with opting for "big box" convenience over supporting locally owned businesses. We firmly believe that national prosperity and an enhanced quality of life for all commence at the grassroots level, supporting and nurturing our local businesses to grow and prosper.

About Us

Dane Buy Local serves as the premier destination for championing independent businesses in Madison, WI. Established with a clear mission of fostering a resilient local economy, we are driven by a profound passion for building strong communities and connecting consumers with local merchants.

Our Beliefs

Recognizing the pivotal role independent businesses play in shaping our region's distinct character, we firmly advocate for supporting local establishments to contribute to the overall growth and prosperity of our city.

Advocacy through Collaboration

By collaborating with a diverse array of independent businesses, Dane Buy Local provides a unified voice for our members. Through marketing campaigns, events, and educational programs, we empower consumers with knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions that positively impact the community.

Promoting Local Businesses

We actively engage in outreach initiatives to promote our members, raising awareness about the importance of living local and the positive ripple effect it has on our neighborhoods.

Building Connections

Dane Buy Local takes pride in fostering meaningful connections between businesses and consumers, creating a sense of belonging and loyalty. We facilitate networking opportunities, encouraging collaboration among our members, recognizing that together we are stronger.

A Statement of Support

By choosing to support Dane Buy Local, you are not merely making a purchase; you are making a statement. You are investing in the economic vitality and cultural richness of our region , contributing to the tapestry that makes our city unique.

Join the Movement

We invite you to explore the diverse offerings of our local businesses. Join us at Dane Buy Local and become part of a movement that celebrates the heart and soul of our city—the independent businesses that make Madison truly special. Together, let's shape a future where our local economy thrives, and our community flourishes.

Josie Pradella & Rick Brooks
Dane Buy Local Co-Founders

The Dane Buy Local Presidents throughout the years have included:

  • Kelly Starr-King - 2009-2011   
  • Colin Murray - 2011-2013
  • Kay-Tee Franke - 2013-2015
  • Rick Lenz – 2015
  • Amy Johnson – 2016-2020
  • Amanda Metcalfe - 2020
  • Amy Johnson - 2020-2021
  • Curt Fuszard - 2022 - present

What attracted early adopters to the Dane Buy Local idea?

  • Importance of local ownership and purchasing
  • Supporting small business practices and ethics
  • Sense of community
  • Desire to learn
  • Belonging and inclusion
  • Sustainability
  • Respect
  • Value of uniqueness vs. sameness
  • Commitment to future generations
  • Better quality of life for all
  • Building social and economic capital

Our History

Originally known as the Dane County Buy Local Initiative, Dane Buy Local was founded in 2004 as a program of Wisconsin Partners for Sustainability.

Dane Buy Local transitioned from being solely run by volunteers in 2008 to hiring its first staff person, Lark Gibson. In 2010, we moved from sharing an office with Drake & Company Staffing Specialists to securing our own offices at 6300 Enterprise Lane in Madison.

In 2009, the Board made the decision to become a stand-alone non-profit, moving away from dependence on Wisconsin Partners for Sustainability. In February 2013, we hired our first full-time Executive Director, Colin Murray.

In 2013, Dane Buy Local developed relationships with more than 15 chambers and business groups. 

In March 2015, we established the Dane Buy Local Foundation to support public awareness campaigns such as Independents Week and Shift Your Shopping. Later that year, in October, we relocated offices to the east side of Madison at 2801 International Lane.

During the pandemic, starting in 2020, Dane Buy Local had the honor of administering the Small Business Grant Support Programs for local businesses in Dane County. Funds were provided by Dane County through the ARPA Federal Program. A total of $28 million was provided in grants to the small business community.

In 2023, Colin Murray retired and Paula Severson became the next Executive Director.

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