Think Local Austin, or TLA, is an Austin-based startup that helps people find and share special hidden gems – those great little places that everyone loves. No boring chain bars and restaurants, just the good stuff.

We’ve created a magical place for finding the greatest little places around our community, from quirky bars to weird and wonderful restaurants. Come aboard to be a part of something special and we’ll show you charming places in the gaps of Google Maps. The Think Local Card is the key to Lake Travis and everything great west of the Penny Bridge!

Think Local Austin is on a mission to uncover all the great, little places in Austin. Because great little places, the hidden gems locals hold dear, are what makes a city special. Like everyone’s little black book of places weaved into one, TLA is getting everyone together to say ‘I know this great little place…’ and share their most amazing discoveries with one another. The campaign is designed to recreate the experience of having a friend in the know tell you where to go. Beautifully designed and brutally simple, with just one visual recommendation at a time, members gain instant access to hard fought insider knowledge about any city they’re in. Better still, the more members use the website, the more it will match make them to where they love going and what they love doing. The vision for TLA is to create the last city guide. Because, with a relentless focus on just the greatest little places, all loved by locals, and a beautiful and simple user experience, its ambition is to become the only key to the town you need!

Here’s what happens when you “shop” local.

1. More of your money will be kept in your local economy

For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.*

2. You embrace what makes your community unique

You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?

3. You create local jobs

Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions.

4. You help the environment

Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.

5. You nurture community

Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

6. You conserve your tax dollars

Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong— in your community!

7. You create more choice

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wid­er array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets.

8. You took advantage of their expertise

You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?

9. You invested in entrepreneurship

Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business en­sures a strong community.

10. You made your community a destination

The more interesting and unique you community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

*Source: Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.