Globalization, digital technologies, societal and environmental concerns influence the way family firms operate locally and internationally. Family firms are often torn between their local and global environments, simultaneously visible and embedded in their local environment while marketing their products and services abroad. Unlike large multinationals that have often lost their roots, family firms manifest an active interest in maintaining their local roots and traditions. Moreover, increasing concerns with sustainable development call for continuity through sustainability aimed at improving local and global socioeconomic conditions. This editorial of the special issue on ‘Locality and Internationalization of Family Firms’ discusses this tension that family firms face and how they can build bridges between communities increasingly drifting apart. By bridging local and global environments, family firms can contribute to the sustainable development of society. We present a research agenda addressing this particular bridging function of family firms and propose several avenues for future research.