About Us

Who We Are

Our Mission                                Collaborate  -  Educate  -  Promote

It is our mission to educate the public about the benefits of thinking local first, to promote our members and their products and services to the community, and to collaborate with other like-minded organizations to achieve our vision. 

Our Vision

  • Promote a sustainable, resilient, and fair local economy in vibrant communities that residents are proud to call home.
  • Educated public that recognizes the cost of “big box” cheap vs. purchasing from locally owned businesses. We believe that national prosperity and a better quality of life, for all, begins at the local level.
  • To support local businesses in their efforts to grow and prosper.

Today, we have almost 600 members and are proud to be one of the Largest Buy Local Organization in the US on a City/County-wide scale.

About Us

Dane Buy Local is your premier destination for supporting independent businesses in Madison, WI. Established with the goal of promoting a vibrant and resilient local economy, we are passionate about cultivating a strong sense of community and fostering connections between consumers and local merchants.

At Dane Buy Local, we understand the vital role independent businesses play in shaping the unique character of our city. We firmly believe by choosing to support local establishments, we can contribute to the growth and prosperity of Madison as a whole.

By collaborating with a wide array of independent businesses, Dane Buy Local provides a unified voice for our members and advocates for their interests. Through our various marketing campaigns, events, and educational programs, we strive to empower consumers with the knowledge and resources they need to make informed decisions and invest in their community. We actively engage in outreach initiatives to promote our members and raise awareness about the importance of shopping local and the positive impact it has on our neighborhoods.

Dane Buy Local is proud to foster meaningful connections between businesses and consumers, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty. We facilitate networking opportunities and encourage collaboration among our members, recognizing that together we are stronger. Through these connections, we build lasting relationships which extend beyond mere transactions, enriching the fabric of our community.

We invite you to explore the diverse offerings of our local businesses. By choosing to support Dane Buy Local, you are not just making a purchase – you are making a statement, investing in the economic vitality and cultural richness of Madison.

Join us at Dane Buy Local and be a part of a movement which celebrates the heart and soul of our city - the independent businesses which make Madison truly special.

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. We also collaborated with Dane County to pass a new ordinance that gives preference to locally-produced goods in purchasing decisions.

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.