By Ken Bustin
For the past several months, the Pendleton County Economic Development Authority’s “Be Local” campaign has exhorted county residents to patronize local businesses and take a more active role in the local community.
“We’ve been encouraging people to eat, shop and stay local,” said EDA’s Amber Nesselrodt. “But with Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, we want to expand that message a bit, and let businesses know how to ‘Be Green,’ as well.”
“The objective is to offer them eco-friendly information on how to be local and be sustainable,” she added.
During the past few months, the EDA has highlighted various local businesses on its social media pages – Facebook and Instagram – and will continue to do so. One that will be upcoming is the recycling center in Franklin. Nesselrodt said she thinks there are many people who are still unaware that it exists.
“And now that it’s almost spring,” she said, “we want to encourage people shop local for their gardening supplies.”
Nesselrodt noted that T & K Markets had recently added a lot of organic produce from the area. Other businesses, as well, were offering more locally-produced goods.
Efforts were underway to gear up for a local Farmer’s Market in Franklin, which would be held on Saturdays. A meeting is scheduled to be held on April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at the community building to sign up vendors. Nesselrodt said she hoped for strong participation, noting that there would be no table fees, scheduling would be flexible, and vendors would not need to commit to being there every week. She noted that it wouldn’t be limited to just local produce and meats, and hoped this would attract sellers who had craft items and other products.
She said that the EDA had been gratified with the response to the ‘Be Local’ campaign. “‘Be Local’ is reaching more people – and we want to keep that momentum going,” she declared. She said that it was hoped to keep the campaign going indefinitely. During the past few months, they had offered various giveaways, and she said that both those and the highlights of businesses on their social media pages had received a lot of positive feedback.
Nesselrodt said there were lots of little things businesses could do to support sustainability. For example, she noted, businesses which sold physical goods could sell branded tote bags to their customers, which would not only help reduce waste, but would also be an advertisement for the business. And businesses could offer recycling bins in their stores for bottles and cans.
She encouraged people to check the EDA’s social media pages and website for additional information.
Laura Brown, EDA executive director, echoed Nesselrodt’s enthusiasm: “We are six months into our ‘Be Local’ campaign and it is doing what we want – to encourage community engagement and support for local businesses. The role of the EDA isn’t just to bring new business opportunities to Pendleton County but it’s to support existing businesses. We look forward to growing this campaign.”