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.

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