Who We Are and How We Do Local
by Brian Kingsley - Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Who is Buy Local?


SyracuseFirst is a not-for-profit network of more than 300 locally owned, independent businesses.  Our mission is to educate and encourage citizens to buy local and understand the “localist” movement.  We do that in a number of ways. We encourage you to “pledge” your support by joining SyracuseFirst.  Visit www.syracusefirst.org to learn how.  To understand the entire Buy Local movement, please visit www.bealocalist.org.   SyracuseFirst is a partner with BALLE and with www.amiba.net.  Both are excellent buy local educational sources. Buying local is about more than spending money at a locally owned, independent business. SyracuseFirst is also a partner with www.centerstateceo.com.  We encourage you to also pop on over to their site.  CenterStateCEO has assisted SyracuseFirst, the City of Syracuse and Central New York grow businesses and community.  Their initiatives are many.

If you really want to learn firsthand about us, join us Nov. 25 at our fourth annual Buy Local Bash.  This year, it is being held at the MOST (www.most.org).  There will be more than 50 vendors and sponsors taking part.  The event drew 750 attendees last year, when held at the Regional Market.  Taste local brews, spirits, and food.  Shop local retail vendors. Enjoy the sounds of a local musical favorite, Los Blancos, and meet up to 1,000 soon-to-be-local friends.  For ticket information, visit the CenterStateCEO website event page.

SyracuseFirst is headed by Chris Fowler, executive director.

SyracuseFirst does so much more than we have room to explain.  Please visit www.syracusefirst.org for more information.  Thank you and we hope you “pledge” to join our Localist movement.


My name is Brian Kingsley, and I own Geo Dux Small Business Services.  I have worked as an independent marketing, advertising and promotions consultant going on seven years.  I love what I do!  I help small businesses and other independents on a tight budget grow their businesses.  I don’t have a set fee schedule because every small business is unique.  I work very hard to generate new business revenue based on your existing budget. I am also a staunch Buy Local advocate and Localist, after having made my pledge to SyracuseFirst more than 15 months ago.  I enjoy helping others, client or not. Why?  Because small-business growth matters to me and people matter to me.  I believe small businesses forged our country into an economic powerhouse.  I firmly believe it will be on the backs of tens of thousands of small businesses upon which we will grow this nation economically stronger once again.

If you have a need for a very simple website just to have a presence, I can help.  If you would like to engage in a marketing campaign to generate new business, I offer free consultations and, if I believe I can help, I will.  I grow relationships.  Sometimes, especially for independents and very small businesses, it’s difficult to find the time to wear all the hats.  I’ll do my best to be the hat you don’t have time to wear.  On a more personal note…I love to interact with others and make new friends and acquaintances. I enjoy visiting small businesses in the region just to get to know them and what they do. I also have a passion for photography (still an amateur, but it’s my favorite form of relaxing) and road-trips. If you see me around Syracuse, I’m likely to be in jeans and a “local” style T-shirt (soon to be sweatshirt).  Never hesitate to introduce yourself to someone wearing a SyracuseFirst or any Buy Local themed shirt.

My lovely wife, Gin, helps keep me grounded, as do my two wonderful and stress-free children (always suck up to your children, especially in their 20s).  We have two beautiful grandchildren, who we worship.  Our 2 year-old granddaughter is a constant source of entertainment (clearing throat), and our 7 year-old grandson is a rock star. I reside in the Eastwood section of Syracuse.




Business: Siren Studios

What it does: Body art, tattoos

Website: www.sirenstudios315.com

Supporting your local businesses shouldn’t just be a good practice, but more of the norm. We try to support every avenue of “Buy Local” when we can. It can be as simple as visiting local butchers co-ops and farmers markets.  Or heading to local music venues to catch your favorite band. With the endless options of locally owned and operated eateries in the area, it’s hard to find a reason why not to visit a restaurant that buys local produce, hires within the community and pretty much runs its entire operation based around the fact it wants to help its neighbors in business and the community.

In our industry, it’s not hard to find locally, or even just independently, owned sources for our supplies. The local tattoo machine builder.  The guy with the indestructible clip-cord.  Custom made foot switches made out of almost anything. We thrive on the fact people want to deal, buy, sell and operate locally. Knowing where your end product came from before it has even been placed in front of you  is a great feeling. We take pride in helping in any way we can, as so many others have done for us.

Business: Modern Air Mechanical

What it does: Heating, cooling and commercial refrigeration

Website: www.modernairmechanical.com

Long before my husband and I were business owners, we strived to buy local.  Buying local to us meant supporting another family like ours.  We look for small businesses and local eateries to frequent because we like that “family feel.”  There is something about walking into a business or restaurant and knowing not just the owners but others who frequent the same place.

Now that we are business owners, staying local means even more. You will always get the same people on the phone, not someone in another state filtering your calls.  We take pride in knowing our customers on a first-name basis. Most of our customers are locally owned businesses, and we love that we are supporting one another.

Syracuse is a great place to live, and we take pride that we live here raising our three small children.  Seeing the downtown area starting to bustle more and more is awesome.  The Localist movement to us means educating our community on the importance of buying local and what it means.  It also means ensuring businesses like Modern Air continue to be passed on from generation to generation!

Business: Baltimore Woods Nature Center

What it does: Not-for-profit environmental education organization

Website: www.baltimorewoods.org

You can support “Buy Local” in many ways!  When you support a local business that is environmentally driven, you take another important role in being a true Localist.

If you’re a fan of locally grown produce and locally owned and operated restaurants and farms, Baltimore Woods Nature Center’s EnvIRONmental Chef Homegrown event is being held on Sunday, Sept. 8.  This is how you can support local in a huge way and help our region’s ecological initiatives.  It takes place from 3 to 6 p.m. at Baltimore Woods, in Marcellus. Carrie Lazarus, anchor for WSYR-TV (Channel 9) will serve as the event’s guest emcee.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars, Ithaca Beer, Red Jacket Orchards and Salt City Coffee will provide beverages.  Abigail Henson, of LOFO, will design cocktails and other drinks prepared with local ingredients. Farms donating to the event include Early Morning Farm, Bella Via, Cornell Potato Laboratory, Fruit of the Fungi, Horsford Farms, Kriemhild Dairy Farms, Main Street Farm, Marigold Farm, Shotwell Brook Farm, Salvere Farm, Side Hill Farmers and Stones Throw Farm.

Call (315) 673-1350 or visit baltimorewoods.org for information.

Next week, the Buy Local Blog will cover the arts and entertainment local businesses in Syracuse and Central New York.

Brian Kingsley is a marketing, advertising and promotions consultant and owner of GeoDux Small Business Services.  Email him at geo@geodux.com. Chris Fowler is the executive director of SyracuseFirst, a not-for-profit network of locally owned, independent organizations encouraging citizens to “Think Local First.” Email him at chris@syracusefirst.org.

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