How it All Started

Our founder, Carl Baldesare, was born and raised in Cleveland. A small business owner himself, he was looking to grow his contracting company. However, he realized that getting the word out for a small business was no easy task. Puzzling over why this was the case, he had his eureka moment while enjoying a cup of coffee outside a local coffee shop: traffic at the shop was average at best, while people were flocking to a large chain cafe across the street for the same products.

He decided to investigate. After speaking with patrons of the chain, he found their responses were much the same: They did not know the local shop was there, or they were afraid to try something unfamiliar. He invited a few of the patrons over to the local shop and bought them a cup of coffee. The response? Patrons were surprised to find that the quality was much better, and not for a higher price!

Carl realized he could fix this misunderstanding on a larger scale. The next day, The Keep It Local Project was born! After months of interviews with both businesses and consumers to find out exactly how to bridge this communication gap while meeting everyone’s needs, we had a “soft launch” of our online Local Marketplace in February of 2014.

Our Mission

To connect local businesses to local people here in Cleveland.

Our Vision

We create awareness of the local business community, support community development and keep Cleveland unique and thriving.

Value Statement

We continue to create public awareness of the local business community by letting consumers know where to find and shop at our local businesses. We support community development and programs that create unique experiences in Cleveland.

We create consumer-driven events and outings to solidify our message to shop locally.  We work with our business members to create an environment that makes doing business in Cleveland easy by hosting networking events, workshops and member-only outings that allow members to work together, grow and thrive.

A Message to Consumers...

At Keep It Local we believe that you, the customer, are the driving force in developing this great city into the next era. We all know Clevelanders are a unique brand of people who love this city through and through.  Our goal is to connect the unique people of this city to the unique businesses that drive our economy. That starts with you! We hope this site makes it easier for you to join the “Shop Local” movement in Cleveland, and we welcome any feedback you have to make it even better!