More Local Than Ever

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THE LOWCOUNTRY’S PREMIERE NETWORK OF LOCAL BUSINESSES IS CELEBRATING ITS TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY

It began with a speech, one of many that media entrepreneur Marc Frey has given during his career. He was addressing a group of politically minded women when he posed a frightening what-if scenario for the country’s future: What if, he posed, you left your house one day to find your choices limited to Walmart, Target or going back inside and ordering from Amazon?

“It’s not the environment anyone wants to live in,” he said. “As consumers, it’s our responsibility to support local businesses.”

The notion born from that presentation quickly gestated into a vision for a new kind of initiative, one aimed squarely at giving the little guy the marketing power to fight back against the big-box stores. And when Hurricane Matthew came roaring into town, the necessity behind that notion became more powerful than ever.

“We already had everything in place — the concept, the logo, etc. — and were at a point where we could literally hit the start button,” Frey said. “We met at someone’s kitchen table because we couldn’t get back onto the island and decided to launch it.”

With the generous support of local media sponsors, their slogan “Support Main Street not Wall Street” has garnered more than five million impressions so far via print, radio, billboards and TV.

As consumers, it’s our responsibility to support local businesses.

Frey saw that there were already more than 100 nonprofit groups across the country working toward similar goals, but their methods skewed more toward advocacy. He envisioned something more sustainable and knew that it would take a more comprehensive approach to get there, one that drives the consumer awareness and at the same time provides tools for business owners to grow their businesses.

The first step was hiring executive director Meredith DiMuzio, a 13-year Lowcountry resident who shared Frey’s passion for local business. Together, they grew ShopMoreLocal.com into an indispensable directory of the Lowcountry’s most respected and independently owned businesses. The initiative began to guide local dollars back into the community.

The next step came a year ago, when Shop More Local.com unveiled its full capabilities by leveraging the high visibility of Hilton Head Monthly and Bluffton Monthly. By inserting a savings guide four times a year and taking advantage of the vast social network reach of Frey Media’s various digital endeavors, Frey Media gave Shop More Local partners instant access to a savvy local audience of thousands.

“Obviously, we had the capability to give our partners this tremendous exposure, so why not leverage that,” DiMuzio said. “It’s working, and both the consumer and business owners see that. By now more than 475 local businesses have joined our mission of keeping the money local.”

Shop More Local has introduced e-commerce capabilities.

“One of the reasons customers order from Amazon is because it’s easy,” Frey said. “We want to make it that it’s easy to shop locally. We’re helping bring local business up to speed on how consumers buy things.”

By offering local businesses access to the marketing power of a trusted local organization and the digital prowess of the big-box stores, Shop More Local helps the Lowcountry thrive.

“It creates that consumer relationship you don’t get anywhere else,” said DiMuzio.

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For more information, go to www.shopmorelocal.com.