After issuing nearly $150,000 in grants to local businesses during phase one, the city recently launched phase two of its business stimulus program with a Be Local, Buy Local Roanoke campaign.
The first part of the Be Local, Buy Local campaign began Oct. 23 and consisted of $20,000 in vouchers that were issued to local residents for use at local dining establishments. A total of 400 vouchers were claimed by local residents using a link found on city water billing statements, Special Events Coordinator Mary Jo Tellin said.
“Instead of giving monies directly to store owners, we gave out 400 $50 vouchers to Roanoke residents,” Tellin said. “We reached out to the city’s broad business base and had a number of businesses participate.”
According to Tellin, many residents shared their excitement with city officials in having an opportunity to further support local businesses.
Along with the shopping vouchers, the city is currently advertising its “Sip, Snack & Shop Gift Tour” on Nov. 28. The tour will help further promote small businesses by encouraging participants to stop by multiple restaurant and retail locations for a free gift and additional shopping opportunities.
To promote the various Be Local, Buy Local events, the city created a multifaceted, stand-alone marketing campaign, Tellin said. The campaign consisted of multiple stimulus programs, along with advertising initiatives, such as post cards and a dining guide.
“We had all of these different ways to interject cash into the system, and then we backed it up with the campaign via all these ways of marketing,” Tellin said. “We want our business base to thrive in any way we can help them.”