Our Mission

Anyone who has visited Durango and La Plata County can recognize that it’s a unique place. Part of Colorado, but tucked away in the Southwest, we get all of the benefits of a thriving state without sitting in traffic for hours every day and can mountain bike out our backdoors, something we consider a real luxury. What makes it possible for so many people to thrive in what seems like the middle of nowhere is our strong community of local, independent businesses who attract tourists, provide jobs, and recirculate dollars into the local economy. But between growing online markets and big box stores, this community is constantly under threat. 

As La Plata County continues to grow and these threats remain, we have to have a conscious conversation about the types of businesses that we want here and how to maintain the lifestyle that so many people love. Those businesses are supported by our community of localists who understand the importance of keeping it local. In order to better serve the community at large, the Local First Foundation was formed in 2019.

The mission of the Local First Foundation is to conduct education, research, and outreach on the importance of local self-reliance in order to build an economy that values people, the planet, and prosperity for everyone in the greater La Plata County region.

Our Vision

The Local First Foundation vision is the same as the Local First vision because we work together under one umbrella as the Local First Family. We envision a thriving, self-reliant, and resilient community investing in locally owned, independent businesses and organizations that join together to enhance the quality of life for La Plata County residents and visitors. 

The Local Breakdown

  • For every $100 spent in a locally owned independent business, $73 returns to the community through avenues such as taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.
  • Spend $100 with a national chain and only $43 of your purchase stays in our local community.
  • When you buy online, $0 stay in our local community.


By making your purchases at a locally owned independent business, you and our community benefit. More services provided by our local government can help lighten your personal load and improve your quality of life. For this reason, Local First fights to support and strengthen the mom-and-pop culture of La Plata County.

If you think about all of the great locally owned, independent businesses in our community, you think about your neighbor or your friend. When you purchase goods and services from an independent business, you are communicating with someone who knows your needs, can relate to your experiences and can give you the best and most honest advice.