SLIDELL, La. – Amid the cleaning supplies and the lawn care items at the ACE hardware store in Slidell, Mayor Greg Cromer explained his creative economic stimulus campaign to WGNO’s Stephanie Oswald.
He’s been supporting local ‘mom and pop’ restaurants with a weekly video.
“We’ll make the video on Thursday in front of the restaurant and I’ll say, ‘ If you recognize where we’re at, call this restaurant tomorrow.’ I buy my lunch and buy a gift certificate and say, okay, you hold it and the first person who calls tomorrow and says the mayor wants to buy me lunch, they get the gift certificate,” explained Mayor Cromer.
It started at KY’s restaurant and the first winner was a woman named Jane. Then, the Northshore Collaborative came up with a way to turn $25 for one person into more than $3,000 for several deserving groups.
The Collaborative challenged winners to donate the Mayor’s gift, and it started a philanthropic trend.
I wrote, “If whomever donates the gift certificate to feed local healthcare workers, I will match it,” said Marketing Director Kim Bergeron.
The winner, Jane Aucoin, agreed to donate it and the Collaborative turned that into a “Feed Our Local Healthcare Workers” fund, inviting others to match the donation. In a little over a week, that effort raised $1,250 which was donated to the two largest local hospitals, in the form of meals from five local restaurants.
Next, Bergeron came up with an ad campaign featuring the children’s book characters, Dick and Jane. The first version said, “Be Like Jane: She donated her gift certificate to feed local healthcare workers.”
Right before Mother’s Day, they launched a second version of the campaign, this time the ad read: Be Like Mom: She knows it’s very important to support local businesses.
“We’re turning this around and supporting local restaurants and those who give back. we started with healthcare providers and then we did first responders and now we’re going to be helping caregivers,” said Collaborative Co-Chair, Charlotte Champagne.
Mayor Cromer was the catalyst for this creativity that’s bringing the Slidell community together, while people are faced with staying apart.