Group decides to start with six videos to focus on sectors

by Jim Boyle


The Together Elk River initiative is growing and even taking on a bit of its own personality, Elk River City Council and Economic Development Authority member Jennifer Wagner reported at Nov. 16 EDA meeting.

The latest effort has been to form a Brand Ambassadors group, a mix of 25 community and business leaders, who have already met twice with plans to meet again to continue the work that has been done so far.

The group decided it has missed an opportunity to launch a “shop local” holiday campaign, but instead will start with a Shop Local First campaign that can be carried on long after the holiday.

It has also decided to create a series of six videos to highlight the men and women behind these local restaurants, service and retail businesses and let the public know they are open, operating safely and following guidelines during the pandemic.

The videos will showcase the fact that Elk River is open for business and will have a personal touch to connect the community to these businesses, organizations and the people behind them.

Colleen Eddy, an economic development specialist for the city of Elk River, said it has been wonderful to see the cross promotion going on in the Together Elk River effort and now in the group.

Wagner said it has been fun to see the group develop its own personality.

Together Elk River was launched by the Elk River Economic Development Authority and the Elk River Chamber of Commerce out of a desire to help businesses and nonprofits survive in the face of COVID-19. Central to the effort has always been the idea of finding out what works for businesses, what they need and how the community can help them achieve success.

The Brand Ambassador group seems to be helping that cause as business leaders and nonprofits share with one another their struggles and brainstorm potential solutions. One idea has been to put a face on local businesses so people know that local business owners are community members and their chances of survival will require an understanding of their challenges and needs in order to maintain the strong community Elk River has enjoyed.

To help with the video project, Jake Pace, the city’s cable coordinator, has been enlisted to serve as a producer. Once completed, the videos will be posted on the EDA website and its social media outlets.

“We will do six to start, and hopefully they will be received so well that we will do more,” Wagner said.

The money for the project is slated to come from the remaining funds from a $9,000 pool of money the EDA reallocated from its 2020 marketing, conference, and travel budgets that will go unspent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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