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We Bring Consumers and Small Business Together!

The Cause
Living in a large city like Atlanta, we see new retailers pop up on a regular basis. Unfortunately the majority are National Chains, Franchises, Big Box storefronts from Big Time corporations. Of course, every once in awhile a small local business opens up and enters the race for market share from the local consumers. Who is helping them compete? How do they capture the ever important market share against the big chains? There are many non-profit organizations throughout the country who claim to help the local entrepreneur. There are advocate groups, there are buy local holidays and many "feel good" reasons to buy local. That's when it hit me. Let's put some meat on the bone, lets offer incentives not only to the consumer but the local small business as well. Let's TRULY bring the small business more customers. Let's TRULY bring consumers more incentives to buy from the small business. Let's TRULY reduce the operating expenses of the small business so the savings could be passed on to the consumer, so we did and Leaning Local was the vehicle to do so.

The Mission
At Leaning Local we understand the needs and challenges that small businesses face in this “ hyper competitive I need it now economy. “ We are dedicated to helping the independent local business grow market share, retain customers and lower operating costs by offering benefits and values that are comparable to those of larger national chains. Our goal is to be an immediate value added resource to the local business in the communities we serve.

What We Do
Leaning Local is a truly unique company that provides money saving services to both the consumers and local independent businesses in our community. How do we do this? We do this by partnering with a select number of vendors that have agreed to offer exclusive bulk pricing to all LL members on certain key services thereby driving down costs, enhancing profitability and allowing for savings to consumers. By leveraging the purchasing power of our members , discounts can be offered to consumers thus driving more customer traffic. At time of purchase a spot, previously agreed upon, discount will be offered in exchange for the consumer opting into our program at no cost or obligation. A key advantage of having this two-way incentive program is LL is able to match up consumers at time of peak product/service needs and allow for immediate cross marketing by other LL members. We effectively are creating a customized buying/selling program where at time of sign up the consumer provides their contact information, what they bought and what other products they are in the market for. Members are then alerted to the consumer’s current and expected buying patterns such that a targeted customized discounted offering can be made to that consumer.

Additionally, consumers are now able to see all other LL members and what products/services offerings and discounts are available. This customized program enhances the local buying/selling experience and allows for a winning dual proposition for our local businesses and consumers alike.

LL will work with other national and area buy local campaigns in order to promote and support our membership and bring about education and awareness to the buying public.

Who We Are

Mike Cherico

We are a new company solely dedicated to working with and supporting the local independent small business. The two founders have a combined 60 plus years of experience in retail, cooperative membership services, owning small businesses, consulting and providing financial services all dedicated to small businesses.

My personal experience includes opening my own 2 store retail chain in Buffalo, NY in 1988 at only 30 years old after working for a competitor for 9 years. In 1993 I moved to Atlanta and was presented with the opportunity to work with a national retail floor covering company as Director of Membership and then moved on to become Vice President of Marketing for CarpetMax. In 1998, I was named President of GCO (Georgia Carpet Outlets).

I then came to work for CCA Global in 2001 as Senior Vice President of Buying. In 2003, I was promoted to President of Lighting One, the largest independent group of specialty lighting stores. In 2007, I became President of the Outlet division, overseeing CCA Global’s Floor Trader, GCO Flooring Outlet, and Stone Mountain’s Flooring Outlet, while continuing my role as President of Lighting One. I have also become active in many industry associations including a board membership for the World Floor Covering Association. My business partner Bruce Dearing and I and our families have been close friends for over 23 years.


Bruce Dearing

Bruce Dearing

My dedication to true customer service and business experience are a perfect fit for Leaning Local. I began my career in a bank training program that paved the way for a highly diverse career in financial services. The majority of my time was spent in leading commercial lending teams and in business development roles, almost all of which was focused on the locally owned, locally operated business. This experience gave me a keen understanding of the complexities, challenges and energy needed to develop and operate a small business venture. I have a high entrepreneurial drive that led to assisting in the formation and operation of a community bank at the executive level. My last role in banking       was focused on building and leading a team in the disposal of problem assets at a regional bank. A few years ago I left banking to pursue a role in business consulting focused on small businesses in the Atlanta area. I am a life long resident of Cobb County and believe in being active in my community. I have served on the Boards of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Fishermen’s Net (a faith based charity supporting at risk youth) and am a graduate of the 2006 Leadership Cobb program.

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 Leaning Local - Atlanta's #1 Connection to Finding Great Deals from Local Small Businesses!