New campaign uses humor to support Downtown South Orange

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Village Center Alliance unveiled Sept. 10 a “Back to Business” campaign designed to remind residents that downtown businesses are ready to serve the community and to reinforce the significance of supporting local businesses, now more than ever. 

This isn’t the same “Shop Local” message people are accustomed to hearing. Since the pandemic, the stakes are elevated and the success of local businesses will profoundly impact the overall state of the community. The campaign coincides with this month’s opening of gyms, indoor dining, movie theaters and indoor venues — all able to open at 25 percent of maximum capacity. 

“While the limited reopening is good news, it does not mean the crisis is over,” SOVCA Executive Director Julie Doran said. “As things start returning to a sense of business as usual, we want to remind everyone that our businesses need as much support now as they did when we first shut down. With most businesses recovering from over five months of little to no income, they have a long way to go before they can begin to stabilize.”

While businesses prepare for this next phase of reopening, most will offer customers their choice of how to do their shopping and dining. 

“After pivoting and adjusting our business, we are thrilled to be at a place where we can begin to bring back staff and extend our operating hours as well as launch new e-commerce businesses for both stores so we can streamline the contactless pickup and free local delivery options for those not ready to venture out yet,” said Cat Fisher, owner of Sadies and Kitchen a la Mode. 

The campaign consists of storefront banners and social media posts highlighting individual store owners as a way of personalizing the businesses. Some of the slogans are straightforward, some are clever and some offer a bit of levity. Social media posts can be found on Instagram and Facebook at @sovillagecenter and are designed to personalize local businesses by focusing on the owners and managers. 

“Downtown South Orange is open, and our businesses still need an unprecedented amount of support,” said Deborah Engel, SOVCA vice chairperson and owner of 19 Prospect St. “We chose to invoke a bit of humor and personality into the campaign because laughter is still important, even during a pandemic.” 

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