As Florida’s economy began to reopen earlier this month, the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce kicked off a campaign designed to support local businesses by encouraging area residents to keep their money in Okaloosa County.
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“Spend Lokaloosa” is a social media challenge in the vein of the 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, but without the cold water. Participants record a short video of themselves to post to their Facebook page. The video starts with the person introducing themselves and encouraging viewers to “spend local.” They then list three of their favorite local businesses and why before concluding with the statement “Spend Lokaloosa.”
The video is then tagged with the Facebook accounts of the businesses mentioned and the chamber.
“We challenge folks to name three business and then those three business will name three business,” said Lin Moormann, the chamber’s director of communications. “It becomes a game of tag.”
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Moormann said the challenge is open to anyone, regardless of whether the person making the video or the businesses are chamber members.
“This is a county wide initiative,” said Moormann, “We really just wanted to kickstart the economy in our county.”
So far the are about 20 Spend Lokaloosa videos posted to Facebook.
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One of those videos is from Nate Vannatter, one of the owners of Props Brewery, which has three different locations in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville.
On the video Vannatter spoofs an Old Spice commercial as he lists some of his favorite local places to eat and drink. Vannatter takes a playful tone in the video, but says the message of buying local is serious business.
“We’re going through this difficult time,” said Vannatter. “We really need to prop up these local businesses. If you can get gas before you leave town, get gas.”
This sentiment is echoed by Chamber President Ted Corcoran.
“Every business that is in our community is owned by, managed by or employs local people,” said Corcoran. “We have got to get these people working again.”
Corcoran notes that a lot of the shopping that took place during the statewide shutdown moved to online giants like Amazon. While Corcoran understands that there will always be a place for businesses like Amazon, he sees money leaving the community that will never return.
“Amazon is not going to sponsor a little league team, they’re not going to sponsor a banner at the football stadium, they’re not going to reinvest one penny in this community,” said Corcoran. “Whereas these local businesses will.”
For more information and Spend Lokaloosa videos visit the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce page: www.facebook.com/FWBChamber/ or contact the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.