Lt. Governor to launch statewide "Shop Small" initiative in Natchitoches ahead of holiday shopping season
As the holiday shopping season approaches, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is launching the statewide “Shop Small” initiative aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of supporting locally-owned small businesses and restaurants.
The event, held in partnership with the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, business leaders, and the Natchitoches Main Street program, took place Friday afternoon at the Beau Jardin Gardens.
“This is the perfect time to support our award-winning Natchitoches Main Street retailers and remind everyone to shop first at independently-owned small businesses and restaurants throughout Louisiana before and during the holidays,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser. “Small, local businesses investing in their hometowns are the backbone of our state’s economy, securing local jobs, keep more money in their community. Local business owners offer a diverse variety of goods and services that meet the needs of those in their area.”
Studies show by “shopping small” or local, more money is kept in the local economy. For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 will stay in that community compared to $43 by shopping at national chains. Additionally, local jobs are created and communities can make their area a shopping destination, attracting more visitors and benefitting everyone.
Lt. Governor Nungesser is raising awareness of the “Shop Small” initiative championed by strong cooperative partnerships between business, tourism, and industry leaders prior to the nationally-successful “Shop Small Saturday” sponsored by American Express and held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving since 2010. The day has yielded over $103 billion in locally-generated revenue since its inception. In 2018 alone, this program totaled over $17.8 billion in retail sales nationally.
During the launch of the “Shop Small” initiative, Natchitoches business leaders highlighted the city’s new #GoNatchitoches phone app to help locals and visitors plan shopping, dining, holiday trips, and activities at events year-round.
On Friday evening, Lt. Governor Nungesser also recognized several Louisiana Ambassadors for their contributions to the success of Natchitoches as a travel destination, including Steel Magnolias playwright and Natchitoches native Robert “Bobby” Harling. The awards were presented as part of the Blush & Bashful Red Carpet Event at Parkway Cinema at 6 p.m. prior to the movie screening of Steel Magnolias, filmed in Natchitoches and originally released in 1989. Harling’s wrote the screenplay to preserve the memory of his sister Susan, portrayed by Julia Roberts. Roberts received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and Academy Award nomination for her role, and the cast received multiple nominations for the internationally-recognized movie, memorably creating a cast unforgettable characters.
Receiving recognition as a Louisiana Ambassador along with Harling was actress Vivian Prudhomme Duggan; creator of the famous Armadillo Red Velvet Groom’s Cake Mrs. Mayo Vascuco; actress and tour business owner Lori Tate; NSU Vice President Jerry Pierce; and NSU retired journalism professor Tommy Whitehead.
On Saturday, Lt. Governor Nungesser will be on hand for the launch of the Natchitoches Film Trail at the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 9:30 a.m. The Natchitoches film trail will include the locations of scenes filmed during the production of Steel Magnolias in 1989; Horse Soldiers starring John Wayne in 1958; and The Man in the Moon, the 1991 debut film for Louisiana-born Reese Witherspoon, among others.
“We’ve had more than 2,500 movies shot right here in Louisiana featuring stars such as Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Brad Pitt, and Tom Cruise. People want to come to Louisiana to see where their favorite movies were made, and we want to make it easier for them to visit those locations,” said Lt. Governor Nungesser.
Everyone is invited to attend to the Natchitoches Movie Trail unveiling and then follow the trail.