The primary focus of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce has always been to support and develop local businesses. With popular, recognizable programs like the Buy Local campaign, the Chamber has focused on bringing attention and exposure to area businesses. In 2012, the Chamber took that focus and attention to a whole new level, introducing I Heart GNV; rolling out a brand new event, Gainesville Restaurant Week; and further developing a year-old event, Shop GNV, solely to bring local businesses more customers and to support the local economy.
I Heart GNV
Similar to the Buy Local campaign, I Heart GNV provided local businesses an opportunity to show their investment in the local business community through Chamber membership, by sporting the I Heart GNV decals on their businesses and grounds. One of the most recognizable representations can be found at the Town of Tioga, which proudly sports their love for the Gainesville area community on their streetlights and throughout their area. Buying local not only supports the sustenance and growth of our local businesses, but it contributes to the fund for city-provided services, creates jobs, results in sales tax being re-invested in the community, and improves our local economy.
Gainesville Restaurant Week
Keeping in line with I Heart GNV, throughout the year the Chamber meets with its members to understand exactly what their needs are to succeed and thrive. Through these meetings and roundtable discussions, the restaurant community expressed concern over traffic and exposure. The Chamber responded with the fun and exciting Gainesville Restaurant Week.
Months of planning and designing went into Gainesville Restaurant Week and even the branding, designed by neutral7 design & printing, received national recognition with a 2012 American Graphic Design Award. More than 400 people attended the kickoff event hosted by Causseaux, Hewett & Walpole, setting the stage for the 10-day event. With 19 popular local restaurants participating in the inaugural event, many reported great increases in traffic as the deals were just too good to pass up for many in the Gainesville community. Some restaurants provided their specialties and favorites, while others took the opportunity to debut brand new menu items. Gainesville Restaurant Week will be an annual summer event, but the 2013 dates have not been released yet. Visit www.gainesvillerestaurantweek.com, like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @GNVEats.
The focus of the Chamber in promoting local businesses is not limited to restaurants, however, as Shop GNV is an event that supports local retailers and shops. The similarities between Shop GNV and I Heart GNV are no mistake—as in both look and concept, it’s all about the same thing: supporting local business! Like Gainesville Restaurant Week, Shop GNV is strategically placed in mid-November to bring needed exposure to local businesses before the holiday shopping rush. With great coupons offered by some of the most popular stores in Gainesville, Shop GNV kicks off the holiday shopping season by encouraging community members to buy locally! Coupons for the four-day event are found on the Chamber website, and the excitement surrounding the event has generated some of the highest website traffic counts in the Chamber’s online history. The community’s interest in Shop GNV encourages more local retailers to take part in the event every year.
Join the Chamber and Heart GNV
The Chamber’s I Heart GNV, Gainesville Restaurant Week and Shop GNV programs help Gainesville and Alachua County consumers understand the impact created when they spend money locally. Our community’s impact on Gainesville’s economy results in local dollars contributing to our overall quality of life. Encourage your favorite area businesses to invest in the business community by becoming members of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and support local businesses and the local economy by shopping locally. We Heart GNV!
Jordan Meyer is the Director of Communications and Marketing at the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. He has been working on behalf of Gainesville’s business community since May 2012 and is a member of the Advertising Federation of Gainesville and the Gainesville chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association. To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.GainesvilleChamber.com.