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Local Motion

For a competitive edge, offer items made locally.
November 1, 2004

Names like Ocho and Angela Adams may not be famous, but they spell success for the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, gallery and home-furnishing shop Nahcotta. Owner Deborah Thompson, 36, says that stocking furniture and accessories from New England-based companies gives her company a cachet that big-box retailers just can't match.

"People like to buy things made locally, and it's a huge draw for tourists to know they're purchasing things that are made in the area they're visiting," Thompson explains.

"Finding good local brands can differentiate your business as cutting-edge and having more options than large-scale stores that only offer the same old products," says Kirsten Osolind, CEO of Re:invention Inc., a Chicago marketing consulting company for women-led businesses. Osolind also says these specialized brands can often command premium prices and draw repeat sales because they're unique.

Locating small manufacturers isn't always easy, but Osolind shares these tips: