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Chamber launching Shop & Dine promotion

A partnership of business organizations will soon launch a marketing campaign to boost local restaurants and shops as the economy struggles to ramp up from the coronavirus shutdown.

The Hendersonville City Council became at least the fourth local government body to support the shop and dine campaign on Thursday night when it unanimously approved a $5,000 grant to underwrite advertising and promotion.

The program aims "to boost the local economy and encourage local people to support local businesses," Chamber of Commerce President Bob Williford told the council. "We're stessing the importance of shopping and dining locally, protecting local jobs, proecting local business and protecting our local tax base."

Another part of the program will provide businesses with guidance on how to make their stores and restaurants as safe as possible during coronavirus restrictions "to instill more consumer confidence so that when people go shopping in Hendersonville and Henderson County they'll feel safe doing so."

The campaign has support of the Friends of Downtown Hendersonville, the Fletcher Area Business Association, the Hendersonville Merchants and Business Association, Go Mills River and the Flat Rock Merchants Association. The campaign had received funding from Henderson County, Laurel Park and Mills River, Williford said, adding that "Flat Rock is looking at it positively." He is making the pitch to the Fletcher Town Council on Monday night. Private donors are providing money, too.

"We're estimating $20,000-25,000 for the campaign, with $5,000 to $8,000 in private funding," he said. "In general terms the campaign (spending) will be about 40 percent on traditional media, 40 percent on digital and social media and 20 percent on guerrilla marketing," which could including a promotion in city water bills.