Roosevelt chamber initiates shop local campaign
August 2, 2020
In the Dr. Seuss classic “Horton Hears a Who,” the tiny citizens of a tiny society on a dust speck held tenuously in an elephant’s trunk get acknowledged by shouting in unison: “We are here, we are here, we are here!”
Local business owners during these crazy times of COVID-19 can sometimes feel like those tiny citizens on the dust speck held by Horton the elephant. Their fellow townspeople aren’t always sure what is open, what is not.
And that’s where the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce has entered the picture. Like Horton trying to help the people on the dust speck be heard, the Chamber’s latest initiative is a shop-local campaign, with signs that help businesses let their customers know that they are here, they are here, they are here.
The signs deliver that message, though paraphrased. Actually, the signs read: OPEN FOR BUSINESS in large enough letters to be seen in the business windows from the roads.
“We want to make sure that they have instant recognition from somebody driving by on the street — ‘Oh, my favorite restaurant or hair salon is open,’” Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry said. “If they see those in enough businesses, it’ll be recognized and they’ll say, ‘Ah, they’re open.’”
In smaller letters on the signs are the slogans “Eat, Shop, Play” and “Shop Local,” along with the chamber’s logo. Terry hopes the initiative offers a strong helping hand.
“We’ve had such a hard time business-wise,” Terry said. “If we can’t get people to double down and support our local businesses, we’re going to be in trouble. So many of them are on the bubble. … It’s time for folks to step up for their neighbor.”
And the Chamber doesn’t stop with those signs.
“Everybody’s taking a different path to reopening,” Terry said, “so we’re trying to use our social media platform and our weekly emailed memo to get the word out about those reopening plans so that people know how each business is navigating it. We want them to know that we’re open; most businesses are open in some fashion. Our restaurants of course have backtracked to carryout and drive-through and delivery.”
To help contend with that backtracking, Roosevelt’s Chamber is available to help restaurants install pop-up patios, similar to the Curry County initiative that has been a success in Clovis.
“We have a few (restaurants) that have patio dining,” Terry said, “but not too many compared to Clovis and other towns. A lot of our restaurants were already set up in a drive-through or delivery mode, so we don’t have as many sit-down type dining options.
“We’ve extended a little hand to those that might be interested; we haven’t had any takers yet, but if we can assist them in helping get a patio up, we can help them get that done — whether it’s a pop-up tent or some other options available. And if they’re looking to find the money for something more permanent, we can help with that.”
However, all the business news coming out of Roosevelt County was not encouraging — the annual peanut festival has been nixed due to COVID-19. Terry had the unpleasant task Friday of messaging vendors and informing them.
“There are going to be some sad people,” Terry said. “It’s a big draw for Portales. With everything rolled together, it’s a massive hit for Portales. We’re also going to miss our (Eastern New Mexico University) students in the fall, having them in town.”