St. John customers, businesses win when we SHOP LOCAL

Published 12:13 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

LAPLACE — Business owners and community members gathered Monday at Dunkin’ Donuts in LaPlace to kick-off Shop Local, an annual campaign promoting the economic benefits of supporting locally owned and operated businesses this holiday season.

Representatives from the St. John the Baptist Parish Economic Development department spoke to attendees about the importance of businesses and consumers working together to keep tax revenue within the parish.

For every $100 spent with independent merchants in St. John the Baptist Parish, $68 stays in St. John Parish, according to Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Parish President Natalie Robottom stresses that money spent locally during the Holiday Season has a greater community impact.

Meanwhile, $100 spent at a big box retail store contributes only $43 to the New Orleans region, and online shopping gives no profit to the local economy. Shop Local benefits business owners and residents, according to Jerry W. Jones, director of economic development for St. John the Baptist Parish.

“It benefits residents who have accessibility to small businesses within their local communities,” Jones said.

“We use those expenses to purchase other items in the community, which means that dollar continues to roll. It’s beneficial to citizens and on the tax side to the parish because we’re able to do more creative and innovative things to meet the needs of the residents.”

Jones described small businesses as “the lifeline to any community” and emphasized the importance of the business owners and residents understanding how their interactions correlate and contribute to the success of the parish.

Pam Allen is the owner of Elite Affairs Event Rentals.

The kick-off event made business owners aware of free marketing opportunities on the “Do, Eat, Play!” section of the Economic Development website,

“The tools and resources we provide through our Economic Development department set our parish apart,” Jones said.

Jones and Robottom asked guests to register business information with the website directory by emailing

Pam Allen, owner of Elite Affairs Event Rentals, said she stays involved in the community by attending events organized by St. John Economic Development.

“I’ve gotten a lot of exposure from it,” Allen said. “I’ve tried to explain to people to shop local and support local businesses. It helps your community. Kids go to school here, and a lot of activities through the parish take place here. The funds help enhance those activities.”

Jerry Jones, Yasmaine Magee and Wayne Aucoin show off the Shop Local promotional material.

Attendees were also given Shop Local freebies including door signs, water bottles, bags and trivia contest entry cards encouraging people to explore local businesses in exchange for raffle prizes.

This week, Economic Development is mailing out green trivia entry cards containing multiple-choice questions about local restaurants, car washes, surgical centers and other venues.

The trivia game gives residents an incentive to explore and become familiarized with the local business community, according to St. John Parish Communications Director Baileigh Rebowe Helm.

Participants can mail completed trivia games to 1801 W. Airline Hwy. in LaPlace or drop them off in Shop Local collection boxes in the same location, near the Parish President’s reception desk.

Shop Local trivia collection boxes are also located at the LaPlace Library, 2920 U.S. 51, the Edgard Courthouse, 2393 Hwy. 18, or the Edgard Library, 2979 Hwy. 18.

Those who answer all questions correctly are entered into a drawing for prizes including gift cards, baskets, arrangements and trinkets from local businesses.

Small Business Saturday will be held this week, aligning with the nationwide holiday representing one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. For more information, call 985-652-9569.