“We love local business in the 805.” That’s the hook that runs throughout a new music and dance video released on Tuesday to promote support for local businesses across the Central Coast. As of Wednesday afternoon the video had 895 views on the YouTube channel Love Local, a part of the I Love Local Business collaborative project facilitated by Women’s Economic Ventures.
WEV director of communications Regina Ruiz called the video “a catchy way” to promote patronage at local small businesses, which still need all the support they can get due to the devastating impacts of the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 debris flow.
“Our local businesses aren’t quite recovered yet and need our support,” she said.
Produced on a shoestring budget of just over $5,000, the video features several small businesses in different Central Coast cities and dancing and groups of local residents and business owners dancing to the tune of Katy Perry’s “Callifornia Gurls” with altered lyrics. According to a press release, the parody lyrics were penned by Grammy and Academy award-winning songwriter and Santa Barbara local Molly-Ann Leikin, who changed the words “California girls, we’re unforgettable,” to “We love local business in the 805.” Ms. Ruiz said she hopes the catchy tune and new lyrics “written by a professional” will stick in the heads of local residents.
“We want people to remember that hook when they go out,” she said.
To gather participants for the video, WEV reached out to each Central Coast city’s chamber of commerce for suggestions on standout local businesses to include. The Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce in particular had a creative hand in the video, as interim executive director Stephanie Armstrong choreographed the group dances at Ventura Harbor, Carpinteria State Beach, Upper Village in Montecito, and La Arcada Plaza in Santa Barbara. During the video’s La Acarda Plaza sections, Santa Barbara County First District supervisor Das Williams can be seen dancing at the front of the group.
With a background in dance and a passion for local businesses, Ms. Armstrong said helping out with the video “married” her two enthusiasms and that she mostly loved “the energy everybody brought to the table.”
Among the small business that appeared in the video was Kay’s Coffee Shop, which also served as one of the video’s sponsors. Co-owner Melinda Hambrick appears in the video, doing her “best to be a backup dancer.” Ms. Hambrick said she was flattered when asked to participate in the video and be a part of this effort to promote local small businesses.
“It’s hard to organize an initiative to support small businesses without the voice of a small business, so I’m happy they chose me,” she said.
Montecito Association executive director Sharon Byrne told the News-Press that she said she was immediately “all in” when Ms. Ruiz contacted her about participating in the video. Ms. Byrne appears later in the video during its Montecito dance sequence, which also includes firefighters from Montecito Fire Protection District, some who were heavily involved in the rescues in Montecito following the Jan. 9 debris flow, according to Ms. Ruiz.
Ms. Byrne said of the firefighters, “Who knew they were such good dancers?”
Wile it was fun to dance in the video, for Ms. Byrne it was most important to “get the message out” about shopping local. While businesses on Coast Village Road in Montecito were significantly impacted by the disasters last winter, Ms. Byrne said the media campaign helps other areas like Old Town Goleta as well.
“It’s not like everyone else was miraculously unaffected,” she said.
The I Love Local Businesses initiative doesn’t aim to completely outdo online shopping, as Ms. Ruiz said it would be enough for Central Coast residents to shop local just some of the time.
“Having residents buy something local 10 percent of the time will make a difference,” she said.