“Buy Local” spirit is at heart of PDIDA, WBZH and this month’s Happy Hour

The “Buy Local” movement is sweeping across the country and it has arrived in Pottstown like a force from Mother Nature. So, what does it mean to “buy local?” It’s pretty simple: By shifting even a fraction of your spending to locally-owned businesses in your hometown, you are supporting the employment base, the tax base, the school system, and your neighbors and friends. And, when the word gets out that there is support for local businesses from area residents, Pottstown could become a more attractive place for those considering expanding or opening up a new business.

During the month of May, the Pottstown School District and the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, otherwise known as PDIDA (puh-dee-duh), have teamed up to help Pottstown flex its economic muscle with a “Buy Local” competition in the school district. All the schools and the administration are competing to see who can spend the most money during the month of May in the PDIDA district. PDIDA encompasses High Street from York to Evans Streets and Hanover and Charlotte Streets from Queen to King Streets. Students, staff and their families are shopping in those areas, getting a receipt, asking the merchant for a “Buy Local” sticker for the receipt and then turning it in at a School District building. In just two weeks, more than $16,000 was spent in the downtown! See Evan Brandt’s article here.

Did you know that there’s another Buy Local wave rolling through the region?

Local radio station WBZH, The Buzz (1370 AM), has been living and breathing the “buy local” philosophy 24/7 since February, when they announced that “buying local” would be the essence behind everything they do.

While their programming has always included local voices and up-to-the-minute local news and coverage, they have come up with advertising packages with customizable options that fit every business budget. They even offer free “buy local” taglines that you can record, along with your business name and location, to get the word out about the importance of supporting the people who are working and making an investment in your community.

We are bringing these two entities together for the next Positively!Pottstown Happy Hour, taking place tomorrow, Friday, May 18 from 5-7 pm at the PDIDA office at 17 N. Hanover Street. WBZH will be broadcasting the “Suki Says!” show live from 4-7 pm. Come out to network and meet local folks who are running businesses and trying to support local business, arts and culture in Pottstown every day. A $5 cover charge will get you food from Giuseppe’s, a new Italian restaurant and pizza place at 864 E. High Street; chocolate-dipped pretzels by Sugar High, a new sweet shoppe at 250 E. High Street; and complimentary beverages.

To rsvp, send an email to positivelypottstown@gmail.com; we also won’t turn anyone away at the door, so just stop by to get your weekend started right, right here at home, keeping it local.

What do today’s Happy Hour, Food Drive & DECA all have in common?

The answer is simple: bringing people together.

Today’s Happy Hour is from 5-7 pm at Rich Ranieri’s Flooring and Carpeting at 218 E. High Street. Check out what this 30-year-old business has to offer in the way of quality flooring and paints! But before you head out the door, or while you’re on the way over, please consider picking up a jar of peanut butter, a can of tuna, a box of cereal, a canned good, or a bottle of laundry detergent for the “Fill the Media Lab” food drive, spearheaded by The Mercury, and being supported by the entire region. There will be a collection box at the Happy Hour for your items. Let’s make a decent showing!

Now, you might be wondering: What does this have to do with DECA? You might also be wondering: What the heck is DECA?? Evan Brandt’s blog post this morning at his awesome blog, Digital Notebook, will give you that answer. Lindsey Havyer, a Pottstown High School student, placed 6th in the 61st Annual State Career Development Conference held recently in Hershey. Her winning project was a community service project, where she organized a group of students to clean up downtown Pottstown on weekends between May and July 2011. Her strong finish earned her a chance to compete at the national competition in Utah this spring. But she needs $1200 to get there. She’s already cutting costs by traveling with a team from Pottsgrove.

Because Lindsey brought her classmates together in service to their town, the Pottstown Downtown District Authority (PDIDA) is taking up a collection from the downtown merchants so they can give back, not only to Lindsey, but to future students who focus their efforts on the downtown. PDIDA would like to establish an annual scholarship that recognizes those students.

What does this have to do with today’s Happy Hour? Because I got an awesome deal on the food for today’s event from Craig and Susan Bolinger of The Ice House, Positively Pottstown will be donating the difference to PDIDA to support Lindsey, who must raise her travel funds by March 28th. Donations can also be sent to the PDIDA Office at 17 N Hanover St. There’s no time to waste!

So… in addition to collecting food items for the food drive, we’ll also take donations for Lindsey Havyer’s travel fund. 

Thanks to everyone in advance for coming together to support each other and what’s best about our community. All of this, by the way, is a perfect example of the spirit of the Buy Local philosophy of our very own local radio station, WBZH, The Buzz, 1370 AM. More on that in an upcoming post… stay tuned!

* From Evan’s Digital Notebook: “If in the midst of this, you’ve been asking yourself, “just what the heck is DECA anyway?” You’re not alone.

It is apparently an acronym for  Distributive Education Clubs of America, although finding that information on the organization’s web site proved nigh impossible (thank you Google).”

Thank you, Evan!


WBZH getting ready to launch Phase 3

Yesterday I had the chance to catch up with Dave Devlin, Program Director for The Buzz, WBZH 1370 AM. The Buzz is the Pottstown area’s only local radio station and it’s poised to launch Phase 3 of their plan to bring back and expand community radio in a big way for the tri-county region.

Phase 1 involved getting the station back on the air just over a year ago, after 1370 went silent for about a year.

Phase 2 involved a name and identity change from WPAZ to WBZH, The Buzz.

And now, Phase 3 –  which I actually can’t specify just yet! – will soon position the station to serve the community in a way that’s totally unique for a radio/TV station anywhere.

On February 7th The Buzz will hold a press conference, including local bloggers, to announce their new campaign, and on February 9th it will swing into action. Stay tuned here and online at wbzh.net or on the radio at 1370 AM. Catch The Buzz!


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