Putting Idahoans First with Integrity, Inclusion, and Innovation
By Kayli Corbin
Photography by Emma Thompson
Entrepreneurship is exciting, invigorating, and terrifying all at the same time. The manifestation of your thoughts and ideas provides an almost indescribable satisfaction while simultaneously throwing a slew of unexpected obstacles at a new business owner. Hilary Lee is a natural-born entrepreneur with incredible drive and business sense that has allowed her to fine-tune marketable products and services for herself and others.
Lee’s foundation comes from her start-up, Gluten Free Galaxy. Lee and her co-founder started a food-truck offering allergen friendly dishes that transcend the barriers of dietary restrictions. Lee shared that one of her favorite experiences is getting to watch someone try a dish most would consider ‘normal’ for the first time without a concern about their sensitivities or restrictions.
From Gluten Free Galaxy, Lee’s passion for entrepreneurship and supporting local small business owners deepened and Local First was born. Local First is a full-scale restaurant and bar that embodies the statement ‘there’s something for everyone’. With vegan, gluten-free, paleo, keto, and ‘normie’ options, diners are free to explore culinary delights in a safe space. Their bar also offers each of their drinks in ‘mocktails’, catering to religious and dietary restrictions around alcohol.
Local First has an ambience that is representative of their core values: integrity, inclusion, and innovation. The space is filled with local art and an immaculate flower wall, built by Lee. Their menu features a variety of local partners, echoing the importance of supporting small businesses that is so apparent in all of this establishment’s actions.
The offerings and community impact don’t end with food and drink at Local First. By utilizing a customer-funded business model, the sales of the restaurant offer opportunities for Lee to share her skilled abilities in entrepreneurship. Their co-packing facility allows a transitionary step for small, independent food producers to increase their production and broaden the reach of their products.
The list of services offered by Local First also includes entrepreneurial consulting. Lee understands first hand the challenges that come along with expanding your business and taking the steps needed to go from at-home creation to full-scale production, marketing, and retail sales.
Lee’s passion for sharing her experience and understanding takes a step further into the world of social media. Her page Idaho Ambassador offers amazing insights into the intricacies of being an entrepreneur and explores her unique perspectives on business ownership and development, local happenings, and tasty food! Check her out on Instagram at @idahoambassador and on www.idahoambassador.com.
Whether you’re looking for a delicious meal or cocktail, exploring the next steps of growing your business, or have a desire to support local craftsmen and women, Hilary Lee has something to offer. Stop by Local First at 1228 N. Galleria Dr. in Nampa to explore your new favorite restaurant. Maybe you’ll spark a conversation that gets the wheels turning on your next business venture!