January 29, 2021 | Community Spotlight: Love Letters for Local in Frederick, Maryland | By: Abby Armato, Communications Coordinator, NMSC
Photo credit: Downtown Frederick Partnership
Every month is a great month to show a little bit of love for our commercial district’s small businesses, but Downtown Frederick Partnership is taking it to the next level. Earlier this week, they declared February “LOVE LOCAL” Month in Downtown Frederick. In addition to encouraging local shopping throughout the month, this Maryland Main Street program is calling on their community to show their love for local through a Valentine’s Day classic: love letters.
Running February 1-28, Love Letters for Local is a new initiative that encourages community members to write letters of appreciation and support to small businesses as they persevere into the new year. To incentivize shoppers and residents to participate in the program, the Main Street organization will randomly select one letter writer per week and give them a $250 gift card to a downtown business. Talk about a win-win-win!
“We all know that it’s been a very difficult ride, especially for our small businesses,” said Leeann Crews, Marketing and Promotion Manager at the Partnership in a recent interview, “and so coming out of the holiday season where shopping local and supporting local businesses was really top of mind, we just wanted to make sure that we are carrying that message through the holidays and into the new year.”
To make engagement as easy as possible, the Downtown Frederick Partnership created special LOVE LOCAL mailboxes. These festive mailboxes will be installed around the commercial district in the final days of January. Come February 1, the community will be able to drop their love letters into these festive mailboxes postage-free, and the Partnership will deliver the cards to the small businesses.
The specific locations of the mailboxes are being populated on an online interactive map, which serves the dual purpose of showing where the drop-off locations are as well as highlighting small businesses in the district. The first mailbox was installed next to a big light-up heart that the Partnership placed in the center of the commercial district. Set at sidewalk-level, this giant heart creates a great centerpiece for the month-long celebration—not to mention perfect photo op!
A COVID-friendly alternative, the Main Street program has also set up an online system for spreading love to local businesses. A Google Form was created by the Downtown Frederick Partnership so that community members could send a virtual Valentine.
“We’re really just wanting people to think about … the people they love, the businesses they love and the community that they love,” Crews said.
Inspired to create a similar month-long celebration in your community? Learn more about this program here.