As holiday shopping heats up, OEV urges residents to shop local with Experience Betton

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By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 4, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – In the days and weeks following a shooting at a local yoga studio that left two dead and several others injured, businesses in Betton Place reminded shoppers that they were still open.

That push to bring business back is continuing this holiday season.

The Office of Economic Vitality launched the “Experience Betton” campaign last month, urging residents to shop local and support the
business that had been through so much. OEV created four social media videos, highlighting the various retail and restaurant space there. The videos got more than 11,000 views following Thanksgiving.

"Local and small business, they bring our character to life every day. We know after the shooting at Betton in November, that particular plaza needed a boost,” said Susan Emmanuel, the Public Information Officer for Blueprint, which oversees the Office of Economic Vitality.

The videos, along with the push to “Experience Betton,” were targeted for the weekend following Thanksgiving, including Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. However, the urging to support the businesses at Betton Place, as well as other small businesses in the community, will continue.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our community and we all have a responsibility to help keep them running,” said Emmanuel.

The shocking shooting forced businesses to close their doors. And just weeks before, power outages from Hurricane Michael also impacted business.

Business owners like Marsha Shalley, of AR Workshop Tallahassee, said the support of local customers is needed to help keep the doors open.

"Betton place is a great place to be, but we want to be able to keep our retailers here so it's important for the community to support that,” she said.

Shalley, along with Rebels co-owner Shelley Ruthstrom, believe the campaign by OEV has had an impact on business.

"Black Friday was wonderful, it was really one of our best days,” said Ruthstrom.

She noted her boutique already focuses on the importance of local by selling local wine and jewelry in the shop.

And, as the final few weeks of shopping remain before the holiday, she hopes people continue to remember the importance of keeping dollars local.

"It helps our economy. So it's just a big circle. You put money into local and it helps our economy,” said Ruthstrom.

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