Spend Local Jefferson
The campaign to save and sustain local businesses
The robust and vibrant business community in Jefferson Parish has long been a testament–and one of the key contributors–to the quality of life enjoyed by more than 400,000 parish residents. But when the COVID-19 pandemic and related safety protocols disrupted the way people buy, spend and do business, that very community was left vulnerable to potentially irreversible damage.
In order to ensure that the businesses people know, love and rely on would still be there on the other side of the pandemic, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) launched the Spend Local Jefferson campaign with the help of Jefferson Parish and the Jefferson Chamber. The campaign was designed to engage community members in a deliberate effort to direct spending toward local businesses, helping to support and reinvigorate the parish economy.
“When COVID-19 hit our community, JEDCO was immediately struck by the tremendous impact that the pandemic and the lockdown had on our local businesses. Our economy is dependent on local business,” said Kelsey Scram, Director of Marketing & Innovation at JEDCO. “The Spend Local Jefferson initiative was developed to educate our residents, elevate our local businesses and encourage engagement,” continued Scram.
To that end, Spend Local Jefferson consisted of both physical and digital components: yard signs and window decals were made available to local businesses and organizations through contactless pickup, while an online microsite provided valuable resources like deals, specials and educational materials on local spending. Business leaders in the community could also use the site to take advantage of a number of promotional opportunities, including participation in the Jefferson Parish Pulse podcast, listings on Shop Local NOLA, social media Spend Local Spotlights, or to share information on upcoming sales.
Those efforts were supplemented with the help of community partners who worked in conjunction with JEDCO to further connect businesses with consumers. Chamber members WGNO and CW38 offered affordable television advertising to participating businesses, and media companies helped to push out Spend Local Jefferson messaging on social media, in print publications, and through indoor and outdoor advertising.
Apart from the promotional aspects, education was another focal point for the Spend Local campaign. To help citizens understand just how far their dollars can go to sustaining local businesses, JEDCO partnered with a local advertising firm to design advertisements and infographics that illustrate the short and long term effects
that local spending has on
“Spending locally has significant benefits for quality of life in Jefferson Parish,” Scram said. “For every dollar spent on a local business in the US, about 67 cents stays in the community for things like infrastructure, drainage and schools. When our residents eat local, shop local and spend local, they are helping neighbors, friends and family members in their community stay employed and keep food on their tables. They’re helping business owners stay afloat during difficult times. They’re supporting our local economy and helping Jefferson Parish to come back faster and stronger from this pandemic. We want people to be mindful about where they are spending their dollars and what it means to a local business to have a customer’s support.”
Scram said that while many area businesses initially saw decreases in revenue at the start of the pandemic, largely due to competition from online retailers, the phased reopenings of the community have led to steady increases in revenue. That is, due in no small part to messaging efforts like Spend Local Jefferson and, most critically, to the residents who continue to invest in the future prosperity of Jefferson Parish.
Of course, the need for local spending and support will continue to play a vital role in recovery efforts. Along with other business and community partners, JEDCO and the Jefferson Chamber encourage residents to continue spending at their favorite businesses, leaving positive reviews, and sharing their recommendations on social media.
“It has been truly remarkable to see the cooperation among so many different business groups, organizations and businesses that want to see Jefferson Parish come back faster and stronger,” Scram said. “We’re all in this together.”