Small businesses contribute to the local and national economy, create jobs, provide goods and services and help to build social, vibrant and healthy local communities. However, being a small business owner has always been challenging, with endless days and sleepless nights just to put food on their tables. Then, in the onslaught of COVID-19, it became more difficult than ever. Many small business owners were forced to close their stores and shut their lights off.
So we decided to uplift these small business owners’ voices and #KeepTheLightsOn.
Our team at Dreamspace donated our time, expertise and services to build a visually compelling small business listing site for each Township in America. #KeepTheLightOn is an emergency social responsibility campaign featuring this free business listing site. The site was to feature local small businesses while presenting them with an opportunity to connect with and give back to their communities during the difficult COVID-19 outbreak.
First and foremost, we used location data and visualized how many small businesses were being impacted across the country. This data visualization helped us to create national awareness and illustrate what it means for small business owners to keep their lights on.
Each qualified small business that joined the #KeepTheLightsOn movement received a profile module with their pledge, a call to action button for their services and a #KeepTheLightsOn vinyl storefront sign to display in their windows. In return, we promoted their services and helped them fight for existence through pro bono social media marketing.
Starting in Red Bank, New Jersey, the #KeepTheLightsOn platform featured small business owners and their stories. These stories helped us engage with the local community and invite them to join the movement. By watching, liking, commenting and sharing these stories, everyday people helped make a more significant impact.
The movement also received callouts from amazing business owners such as Hakki Akdeniz, the Founder and Owner of Champion Pizza–and an avid advocate for unhoused folks in America. Akdeniz shared our Front Line Emergency Personnel with his 4.1 million Instagram followers, garnering the #KTLO video 1.2 million views. With support from influential individuals like Akdeniz, we were able to spread our message and help many more small businesses.