Keep it Local Vermilion!
(This is a column written by Anne Falgout, who is Vermilion Parish’s Economic Development Director).
There are innumerable reasons to shop local. We’ve all heard the statistics about dollars turning over in your own community versus elsewhere and how beneficial it is. So, why don’t we do it? I think the answer is two-fold. Some people have an unfounded idea that buying local means you’ll miss out on selection, and others have a hard time believing that their one purchase outside of the community can really make an impact. We think about these things too, and have been working on a way to address those issues and inspire Vermilion Parish residents to keep their spending close to home.
The result is a new program: Keep It local, Vermilion. So, what does that look like? Well, you can not only enjoy the products and services made available by our local businesses, but you can also engage and experience locally, too. Let’s look at the big picture:
1. Engage – Engagement is critical to accomplishing the kind of tightknit community that sustains small businesses and has a high quality of life. Being aware of where and how to engage on local civic issues, run for office, or simply stay informed is key. Our program will provide access to information and resources that can make you a better citizen. Have you ever been to a school board meeting? Do you know how to open a business in the parish? Are you up to speed on the latest tax millage or political race? We will tackle topics like this and much more.
2. Experience – Ask any disgruntled teenager what there is to do in Vermilion, and you’ll probably get the same answer, “NOTHING!” But, that’s simply not the case. Whether you like the water, or land, museums or live music, there’s always something to do. This portion of the program will highlight events and venues that make Vermilion unique and clue you into how you can experience them, too. The idea here is to get all residents - young, old, lifers and transplants - to know what is happening and get them to participate. Did you know there’s a splashpad at Palmetto Island State Park open all summer long? Or that you can watch the latest tricks at Abbeville’s own skatepark? When’s the last time you dropped a line to catch your own crabs and scooped up some wild onions and blackberries out in Pecan Island? We’ll remind you of all the things you love about Vermilion and invite you to join in on the fun.
3. Enjoy – First things first, we want to focus on more than just “shopping.” Traditional “buy local” programs revolve around retailers. True, retail is important, but so are services! Branching out to include all types of local business is of utmost importance to us. Whether you’re buying a new refrigerator, or having it serviced, it’s important to look locally, first. We’ll highlight local businesses that offer unique products and services, and some you may not have even heard about. It’s amazing what you can enjoy in Vermilion! You can get an amazing massage, rent a tuxedo, snag a new pool float, furnish your home, get a karate lesson, find one-of-a-kind art, have tasty sushi, get a custom-made piece of jewelry, and much, much more! We are always amazed by our local businesses and want to introduce you to as many as possible.
Sounds great, right? We think so, and so do other area partners. We’ll be teaming up with the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce, Vermilion Tourism Commission and Abbeville Meridional to keep you informed. Once a month during the summer we will have a spread in a Sunday edition that features businesses, attractions, and concepts that make it easy to Keep It Local.
Spenders and business owners, you can get involved, too!
• Try to use a local merchant before leaving town
• Use social media to let us know about your purchases and experiences using the hashtag
• Business owners, drop us a line to let us know you want in
• Nominate a business to be featured in an upcoming spread
• Purchase discounted print advertising and radio time via our media partners
For these and other opportunities visit www.developvermilion.org/keepitlocal or contact us at (337) 740-0433 to discuss how to get in on the action.