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Welcome to Belmont-Watertown Local First

Belmont-Watertown Local First is a network of locally owned, independent businesses, in partnership with community members, working to build a strong local economy and a vibrant community.

We love the people, the architecture, and the unique stores and shops that give Belmont and Watertown their special flavor. We’ve all seen the damage that can be done to a city when chain stores arrive: raising the rents, homogenizing the look and feel, driving out locally owned shops and stores and taking away a city’s distinctive character. It is a Belmont-Watertown Local First priority to prevent this from happening.

The character of our community is worth preserving. We hope you will join Belmont-Watertown Local First as a general or sponsoring member, or as a community associate, and help us work to strengthen the vitality of the community we cherish.


Our 4th Anniversary Celebration and Networking event will be held on January 14th, 2016 at the Mount Auburn Club in Watertown. Details will be posted here and emailed to members in December. Something to look forward to after the holiday rush!


Now there's an alternative to investing in big national corporations: Invest locally! Learn how: http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/like-shopping-at-local-businesses...

Speaking of money, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has a wonderful article on banking written by Stacey Mitchell as the cover story for Sojourner Magazine. Check it out at http://ilsr.org/banking-for-the-rest-of-us/

Here's her summarization of her research, boiled down to the


1. Get the Same Services at Lower Cost

Most locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same array of services, from online bill paying to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks. Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks, according to national data. Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.

2. Put Your Money to Work Growing Your Local Economy

Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Big banks, meanwhile, allocate relatively little of their resources to small businesses. The largest 20 banks, which now control 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business.

3. Keep Decision-Making Local

At local banks and credit unions, loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs. Because of this personal knowledge, local financial institutions are often able to approve small business and other loans that big banks would reject. In the case of credit unions, control ultimately rests with the customers, who are also member- owners.

4. Back Institutions that Share a Commitment to Your Community

The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits. This is why many local banks and credit unions are involved in their communities. Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.

5. Support Productive Investment, Not Gambling

The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments. Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank, but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.

Member Profile

Olympia Moving & Storage was founded by Michael Gilmartin in 1993, a year after he graduated from Northeastern University. Michael had worked on moving crews while in school, and it became clear to him that there was a need in the Boston area for a quality moving company. He started what was then called “Olympic Moving & Storage” with just a few friends and a truck. The company quickly gained a reputation for providing fast, efficient, and quality moves, specializing in running furniture up and down the stairs of Boston’s many walk-up apartments.

The goal of the company has always been to raise the standard of quality in the moving and storage industry. Olympia has continued to achieve this goal by hiring and training a moving crew that pleasantly surprises our clients with their work ethic, skills, and friendly personalities. Bring a local business has also enabled Olympia to get to know every family we help with their relocation, resulting in high quality and personalized service. Despite being the company’s president and founder, Michael still spends much of his time moving alongside the crew.

Michael has always strived to grow and diversify Olympia. As the company’s reputation grew, he continued to grow his fleet and crew to meet demand. Michael expanded the company’s services to include interstate moves just three years after company was founded. Olympia opened the original warehouse and storage location in Allston, then moved to a larger storage warehouse and headquarters in Watertown in 1999. Although the headquarters remains in Watertown, Olympia opened a satellite office in Alexandria, VA in 2001. Olympia also acquired the executive moving brand Clark & Reid in 2013.

Today, Olympia Moving & Storage employs over 200 staff and crew members. The majority of the employees work in Watertown. Much of Olympia’s growth is thanks to the company’s strong relationships with other local businesses, such as real estate companies. The company also strives to work with other local vendors and be involved in local charities.

Olympia Moving & Storage moved over 2,500 families in the Boston area in 2014. Whether the client is moving across the street or across the globe, Olympia provides full service moving, storage, and packing services. The company also offers specialized office and commercial moving services, including work for Boston’s major universities. To request a free estimate for your move, call 800.222.4744 or visit http://www.olympiamoving.com

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by Dr. Radut