From local shops and eats to fun events, there’s plenty to do on the Cape even after the last of the tourists head over the bridge. LoveLiveLocal is a driving force dedicated to supporting and celebrating this special region.
“We are very passionate about where we live,” says Amanda Converse, co-founder of LoveLiveLocal, a lifestyle organization advocating for local businesses on Cape Cod since 2013. “Around the time we started LoveLiveLocal, there was a growing narrative that part of the reason young people and professionals wouldn’t want to live on Cape Cod is because there was nothing for them to do here,” explains Converse about founding LoveLiveLocal along with Jen Villa and Kate Sheehan. “We had a very different experience in that we had full, enriched businesses and social lives; the Cape has so many cultural and natural resources, along with local businesses which provide an incredible quality of life for people of all ages.”
LoveLiveLocal started simply with a newsletter—a detailed message aimed at giving subscribers an inside look at all the exciting happenings on the Cape—but it quickly grew from there. In just a few months, Converse, Villa and Sheehan were hosting their own market showcasing local vendors. “Our first LoveLocal Fest featured local makers in little tents along the harbor in Hyannis at Aselton Park. It was just this perfect, picturesque location,” says Villa. That first year, LoveLocal Fest hosted around 50 vendors. Now, LoveLiveLocal works with anywhere from two to three hundred vendors throughout the year, and as a true testament to the boundless beauty and activity that Cape Cod boasts year-round, their most popular event happens in the winter with the Holiday Market.
“The holiday is so great. This December will be our 6th holiday market, and now people just know and plan on getting a lot of their holiday gifts at the market,” says Villa. “They’re meeting the vendors, so they get to go home with these amazing stories about the person who made the gifts they bought. It’s this great feel good opportunity.”
As a seasonal community, staying in business through the harsh winter months can be challenging for local entrepreneurs, and in fact many choose to forgo potential off-season business and close their doors once the last of the summer visitors have crossed the bridge. But those who choose to live and work across the region through even the harshest of winter temps and well into the first blooms of spring find that local support is the lifeblood that pumps through the arteries of the Cape, all the way from Falmouth to Provincetown. As Villa puts it, “We’re all in this together, and it’s important to support your friends and neighbors. Without advocating for each other, we don’t have much.”
“Small business owners have been the economic backbone of this country and our Cape Cod community for decades,” explains Converse about her passion for supporting local businesses. “The money spent in a locally owned store stays in our community more so than if it were spent in a national chain store or online. This is because small business owners employ local workers, and use other local professional services like graphic design, payroll services, printers, accountants and lawyers. They donate to local organizations, causes and fundraisers and help plan community events. They also live here and pay all of their taxes here.”
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