Keep Local Alive initiative encouraging people to support small businesses

Keep Local Live initiative
Keep Local Live initiative(WWSB)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 8:25 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - There are a lot of hiring events and job fairs happening across the Suncoast as businesses try to get staffed back up again.

It’s now been a year since communities across our state started to try to push past the pandemic as Florida’s economy began to open up again. While some small businesses weren’t able to make ends meet and were forced to close permanently, others were able to power through.

Two friends saw the need to boost mom and pop shops to help them stay open, so they started a movement to Keep Local Alive. It’s a national campaign asking local communities to rally behind small businesses.

The pair did a cross-country trip to spread their message and started in Sarasota. They traveled to 68 cities and visited hundreds of small businesses from the east all the way to the west coast.

“There’s just too much lip service give to ‘Support Local’ and there’s just not enough action taken. And what COVID did is it shined a spotlight on these businesses and consumers are realizing how vulnerable these businesses are,” said Keep Local Alive co-founder Bobby Johnson.

Businesses vulnerable as many struggled with the uncertainty of when it would all end.

”Just a nice local audience and I think their presence kept that buzz moving through, cash flow, getting those bills paid, keeping people on payroll you know, getting through those pretty scary moves,” said local restaurant owner Mark Cragiulo.

The Keep Local Alive initiative is asking people to take a pledge.

”Take $20 that you would normally spend at a chain or big box store... $20 per week and shift that to a locally owned business. So we’re talking about $80 a month. It’s not an additional budgetary item, it’s an allocation,” said Johnson.

An allocation he says would keep upwards of $90 million in the city of Sarasota based on our population.” At the end of the day, everybody lives in the community right. So if you take care of your community that’s the first place you start, and it’s wonderful there’s an organization out there that calls it out,” said Cragiulo.

If you’d like to take part in the initiative, you can join the Facebook page.

You can also visit the initiative’s website for more information.

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