In honor of National Small Business Week, which runs May 1–7, First Commerce Credit Union, with locations in North Florida and South Georgia, has launched a third round of its national award-winning initiative known as #LocalStrong. To celebrate the week, First Commerce will give its nearly 200 team members $25 each to spend with a locally owned small business. Team members are encouraged to spend their #LocalStrong money between May 1-7 and can even combine their money to make larger purchases. Several team members have indicated they plan to donate their purchases to local organizations and individuals in need as a way to double the impact for the community.
First Commerce originally launched #LocalStrong in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic when communities were shutting down due to “shelter in place” orders, and many small businesses were struggling to stay afloat. During those uncertain times, #LocalStrong offered a safe and meaningful way for First Commerce team members to show support for locally owned businesses and the community by making purchases with $25 provided by the credit union. Several team members then donated their purchases to help others in need. Following a second round of funding for all team members in April 2020, #LocalStrong grew into an international movement that generated more than $1 million in local impact for businesses and communities across the United States and Canada. In addition to #LocalStrong, First Commerce also supported local businesses during the pandemic with nearly $34 million in PPP loan assistance, as well as loan deferrals and other relief programs.
“We’re proud to have been part of the local recovery efforts that helped small businesses and the communities we serve move beyond the worst days of the pandemic,” said First Commerce CEO Cecilia Homison. “We felt National Small Business Week was the ideal time to bring back #LocalStrong to recognize and celebrate the resiliency and determination of so many small businesses and their owners who continue to be the lifeblood of our local economies.”
First Commerce’s initial two rounds of #LocalStrong in March and April 2020, sparked dozens of heartwarming stories involving team members who used their purchases to bring cheer to others, help someone in need or to show appreciation. In one story, a group of team members purchased 250 cupcakes from a local bakery and donated them to residents and healthcare workers at a nursing home facility. In another story, team members bought meals for sanitation workers at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare in appreciation for the work they do quietly behind the scenes. Other team members made purchases at local bookstores, florists and hairdressers and donated items or gift cards to others.
“We’re excited to see what our team members will do with this next round of funding for #LocalStrong in support of the local business community,” said Homison. “We have incredible team members who care deeply about our members and the communities we serve.”
Anyone interested in following the impact of the #LocalStrong initiative during National Small Business Week, or wanting to share their #LocalStrong story, can “Like” and “Follow” First Commerce’s social media sites on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Hashtags used on social media will include: #LocalStrong, #Small BusinessWeek, #FCCUProud, #ShopLocal and #PayItForward.
To learn more about #LocalStrong and other ways First Commerce supports businesses and communities, visit FirstCommerceCU.org/Community.