Social media has a powerful grip in today’s world. If you firmly believe in a cause or idea, you can rally people behind you by speaking your mind on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, including a hashtag, and enacting a positive change.
Recently, Oak Park resident Blagica Bottigliero took to her personal social media accounts to spread awareness about shopping locally and supporting businesses in Oak Park and River Forest. The idea came after Bottigliero spent an afternoon in Downtown OP and noticed “Closed” signs on several doors. Following this experience, the #ShopSmallOakPark social media campaign was born and it’s gaining momentum with more people sharing stories on why their business closed or how current local owners can keep their doors open.
We asked Bottigliero a few questions about #ShopSmallOakPark to understand more and how Oak Parkers can become involved.
Around Oak Park
Why are you so passionate about local businesses succeeding in OPRF?
I come from a family of small business owners and know how incredibly tough it can be to run a business.
It’s the responsibility of both the community and the owner to make it thrive. I recognized the fact that it can be almost impossible for some business owners to market themselves – but it’s a necessity. At the end of the day, it may simply be the need for a better toolset. In this case, the toolset being a hashtag online.
What is your overall goal in speaking out for the small businesses in Oak Park? Are you trying to help businesses close get back on their feet and potentially reopen? Or is this more to create awareness so that the small businesses we have can thrive and not face the same fate?
Great question. The movement is applicable to everyone who wants another nugget of help to inform their customers on why they should shop, visit, eat, etc. It’s also a way to help the community understand what’s in their backdoor. In addition, we are nestled next to Chicago and other areas. There is so much to see and do in Oak Park, inserting another way of discovery is a no-brainer.
Are you getting a lot of support for speaking your mind about this?
The idea has gotten tremendous support from business owners and various organizations. The Shop Small effort is also reaching neighboring towns like Riverside and Forest Park.
Do you think that this social media initiative will grow even more?
I do, but it takes a dedicated community to give it a chance and to be open to new methods of marketing. Good old sweat equity, patience, and the quest to learn.
Photo courtesy of Aurimas Adomavicius via Flickr