The Rapidian

Local First announces "Small Giants" book discussion series

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Local First partners with Books & Mortar and Mayor Bliss to co-host community book discussion on Aug. 1
Books & Mortar in Grand Rapids.

Books & Mortar in Grand Rapids.

Event Details

Tuesday, August 1
5:30-7 p.m.
Books & Mortar
955 Cherry St SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Local First will co-host a “Small Giants” book discussion on Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at independent book store Books & Mortar in partnership with Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. The book talk is an opportunity for community members to participate in a dialogue about the book’s message and meet some of West Michigan’s “small giants.”

Earlier this year, Mayor Bliss announced the #GRLocalChallenge campaign and, alongside it, the 2017 Mayor’s Book of the Year, Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big.” Local First is partnering with Mayor Bliss to host the “Small Giants” book talks as a part of Good for Grand Rapids, which aims to bring together local businesses as a force for good.

“‘Small Giants’ is an important book for our entire community to read, even if you aren’t a business owner or an entrepreneur,” Mayor Bliss said. “West Michigan is home to many businesses that are small giants, which is what makes our region so special. Working together, we can continue to support locally owned companies by shopping local and spreading the word about our amazing small businesses.”

“We’re thrilled to see so many community members and business owners reading ‘Small Giants,’” said Elissa Hillary, president of Local First. “‘Small Giants’ resonates with West Michigan’s success story because many locally owned small businesses in our community are committed to being great instead of growing big. This book talk is now an opportunity to have a dialogue with community members and local businesses on how we can put the book’s lessons into action in West Michigan.”

In “Small Giants,” author Bo Burlingham takes a look at 14 privately held companies, each in varying sections of industry, that have made a conscious decision to be great instead of big. These companies have redefined what it means to be successful and are beginning to change the economic landscape.

“I read ‘Small Giants’ when Brewery Vivant was just a dream,” said Kris Spaulding, owner of Brewery Vivant. “This book has shaped how my husband and I run our business today as well as the policies we implement to ensure Brewery Vivant has a positive impact on our employees, the environment and our neighborhood.”

The Aug. 1 book talk event is free and will take place at Books and Mortar, 955 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids. For more information, visit 

Author Bo Burlingham will also be speaking in Grand Rapids on Monday, Nov. 6. Local First will host a second book discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at Schuler Books & Music.

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