New Facebook page aims to promote locally owned businesses

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Recent business closures have opened eyes to the importance of supporting local operators.

A new Facebook page that started Sunday to promote locally owned small businesses in the Walla Walla Valley had amassed 620 followers as of this morning.

The operator of the page, a small business owner who is not publicly identifying him or herself, started it after reading comments on Facebook from consumers after the closure of Blackbirds coffee and crumbs. Many said they didn’t even know the business existed. The comments resonated.

“At least once a week at our business, we hear the same thing,” said the operator of the new Keep it Local Walla Walla page.

With the closure of Hastings coming in less than a month, and the threat of closure of The Blue Mountain Tavern & Casino that circulated late last week (the latter is continuing to remain open), word of Blackbirds sparked a call to action.

The new page is designed to spread the word to followers who may not be aware of all the goods and services around them.

Businesses can submit a request to be featured. So many requests have already been submitted that posts are already scheduled into November.

The hope is to feature local small businesses on a rotation of Monday and Thursday one week and then Tuesday and Friday the next.

New businesses will be highlighted Wednesdays. Once a week, readers will also be treated to tips on how to keep things local. One example might be a suggestion to provide a positive online review for a local business, or a suggestion to spread the word on good experiences at local businesses.

No-cost ideas on activities in town are also part of the plan for the Keep it Local Walla Walla page.

Not everyone will like all of the businesses featured, the administrator acknowledged. But the point is to share the information to reach audiences that may not already be familiar with shop local campaigns typically promoted by other agencies.

The idea is to use the page to build a greater sense of community and sustainability for the local economy and for the benefit of consumers.

“In the end if you eventually say you don’t know anything about small business it’s almost as if you’ve tried to not know,” the operator said.

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