As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, businesses throughout southern California continue to look for unique ways to promote themselves and some local cities have stepped in to help.
In Temecula, the city kicked off a new social media campaign featuring a visual storyboard to help recognize and promote shopping local during what the city calls “these ever-changing times.” The hashtag #ShopYourBlock campaign features the photography of local photographer Jimmy Fu, who visited and photographed more than 125 Temecula small businesses for the 14-week campaign.
For Christine Damko, economic development manager of Temecula, the new campaign is all about supporting local businesses. #ShopYourBlock is really just a continuation of the city’s hashtag #MadeinTemecula and “Good News of the Week” campaigns that were ongoing before the coronavirus pandemic struck, she said.
“Because we can’t do ‘Good News of the Week,’ we can’t take a camera crew into the restaurants and into the store, which is how we usually promote our businesses, we are really big on showing people instead of telling them, if you will,” Damko said. “We can’t all necessarily go out there, so we thought, let’s just send out one photographer and a staff member out there to take some cool images so it’s safe.”
Damko said that Fu and the staff member literally visit each business for a few moments to take the photos then move on to the next business.
“There is no charge to the businesses and the businesses get those professional images to use on their social media pages or website,” she said. “It’s kind of our way of indirectly inspiring and hoping that our community will see something cool or interesting and then stop by it.”
Featuring images of local business owners, products, employees, food, office spaces and storefronts, businesses from throughout all areas of Temecula are highlighted in the campaign which covers the areas of Old Town, Temecula Parkway, Vail Ranch Headquarters, Jefferson Avenue, Margarita Road, Winchester Road and Rancho California Road.
Damko said that Temecula businesses have been creative in finding ways to keep the doors open while obeying all rules and regulations set forth by the state.
“They are truly entrepreneurs,” she said. “I guess the easiest way to visually see that is in Old Town where some of the retailers and the restaurants are moving their space onto the on-street parking areas, coupled with curbside pick-ups. They’ve done a great job.”
Damko said the majority of businesses in Temecula remain open.
“We wanted a way to safely showcase the entrepreneurial spirit, resiliency and strength of our local business community. We chose to accomplish this by capturing their essence through a camera lens. It is our hope that the community will see these images and get inspired to visit and shop local,” Maryann Edwards, Temecula mayor pro tem, said.
To see the photos and learn more about Temecula businesses that are open, visit the city of Temecula’s social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter every Friday until Sept. 18.
Kim Harris can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.