Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac launch campaign to boost local business

DOWAGIAC — The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac is doing its part to support local businesses.

The organization unveiled its #BacktheJack social media campaign, a campaign aiming to encourage community members to engage Dowagiac-area businesses during this time of economic hardship.

The idea was hatched during last month’s organization meeting, where the group discussed different ideas to help area businesses to get back on track. Young Professionals member and Wightman Project Manager Stefany Holland suggested the idea of a social media campaign as a way to generate interest in all things Dowagiac.

“I’m involved with the Southwest Michigan Chamber of Commerce, and one of the projects they started was ‘Buy Local Berrien’,” she said. “We decided to start one for Dowagiac. We wanted to spread any type of good, local news to Dowagiac. It took us a few days to come up with the hashtag, but we’re happy with it.”

Holland made the first #BacktheJack Facebook post on Jan. 21, explaining what the campaign was all about.

“My community of Dowagiac has experienced hardship just like others during this pandemic,” she wrote. “Now, more than ever, we need to continue to support our local restaurants, gyms, barbers, hair salons, nail salons, massage parlors, doctors, chiropractors, dentists, candy stores, museums, clothing stores and more. I challenge all of my local community members to join me in continuing to support local businesses and #BacktheJack so that we can all indulge in the wonderful amenities that Dowagiac has to offer when this is all said and done.”

Organization members shared the post and began making posts with the hashtag included to spread the word. According to Holland, the campaign has been well-received.

“It’s been great,” she said. “The Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce has shared a few things. People seem to be more encouraged to share positive things about Dowagiac. It was great to see the chamber share some of the articles. We’re trying to bring as much support to the community as we can. Long-term, we want to share the love and show local communities we have a lot to offer here. Long term, it’s pushing our mission.”

The Young Professionals will be meeting this month to discuss plans for events this year. Its annual Daddy-Daughter event has been postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s one of our biggest events,” Holland said. “We’re postponing it until the springtime and mulling around different ideas. It’s a bummer because a lot of kids in town want to have a sense of normalcy. Ultimately, we have to keep people safe.”

The organization will also be discussing its ongoing Russom Park Pavilion project, which involves the construction of a pavilion to complement Russom Park’s sports complex. The project has been in the works for more than three years, and Holland said the organization has reached its $40,000 goal for pavilion funds.

“We will vote to approve purchasing equipment,” Holland said. “Hopefully, construction will start in the spring.”

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