By Frank Lewis
Face it – we all look forward to those days we set aside each year to tackle the crowds and attack the big box stores and the huge malls to get those major bargains on things like clothing, electronics and the latest gadgets to make someone’s life easier.
But then we also need some exhale time to find those unique one-of-a-kind items produced and/or sold by local merchants. Now there is a resource that brings that type of information to your fingertips.
Ashley McDonald, public information officer for Ohio Proud, explained to the Daily Times the importance of that organization’s new marketing program, the newly revamped website: www.ohioproud.org.
Why would the public benefit from going to that website?
“It gives them one of the the new features, the ability to search on our new map,” McDonald told the Daily Times. “So you can put in what you’re looking for. You could be looking for wine or cheese, or even if you want to pinpoint it to your zip code, you can get a very specific look at what is in your area. And if you’re not looking for necessarily what’s in your area but what products are closest to you, it’s a great way to specifically search for what you’re looking for in certain products or what’s available within a certain radius of where you live.”
Ohio Proud, a marketing program which helps consumers identify food and agricultural products produced in the state, launched the new, user-friendly, mobile site that offers quick and easy access to more than 500 Ohio Proud partners located across the state. The website also features an interactive map that allows consumers to more easily locate Ohio Proud businesses in their area.
“We are very excited to have our new website launch during this year’s holiday season,” Lori Panda, senior program manager of Ohio Proud, said. “It’s always our goal to connect shoppers with locally made products because when you shop local, you are supporting our state’s businesses and farmers. Looking for Ohio Proud and other hometown products is a great way to get unique gifts for loved ones this holiday season while giving back to your local community.”
Created in 1993, Ohio Proud is the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s marketing program. Companies that grow, make or process at least 50 percent of their product in Ohio are eligible to join Ohio Proud. Becoming an Ohio Proud member gives businesses another way to market their products, and provides consumers a quick and reliable way to identify local food and agricultural goods.
“This year, personally speaking, my family has been busy, so we haven’t been able to get all of our Christmas gifts yet. Usually we have it done by December,” Joseph Pratt, Executive Director of Main Street Portsmouth, said. “I started to get a little worried when I began to think about it. Most of my gifts are coming from local merchants, so I can go downtown and get homemade candles at The Journey Within. The quality is far better than you get in the big stores. And you can also go to places like Primitive Corner on Second Street. There you can find homemade candles, homemade candy, homemade crafts and gifts that you can’t find anywhere else. You can shop for pretty much anyone in your family if you are shopping locally and you will get a better quality and a more unique item.”
For more information on the program, businesses and shoppers can visit the new Ohio Proud web site at www.ohioproud.org.
each Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.