People often hear the idea of buying local. It’s an idea meant to help local businesses and drive the local economy. While patronizing local stores is an important part of the process, the idea of “keeping it local” is more than shopping. Vermilion Economic Development Alliance Executive (VEDA) Director Anne Falgout highlighted that in promoting the new initiative, “Keep it Local, Vermilion.” She spoke last week to members of the Kiwanis Club of Abbeville.

“It’s about keeping it all local,” Falgout said. “We didn’t say shop local for a reason. A lot of you work for companies that don’t have shopping, but you want people who live in the community to support you. Maybe you’re a chiropractor or you do taxes.

“Whatever it is, we want people to look to Vermilion Parish businesses first.”

The initiative is a partnership among VEDA, the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce and the Twin Parish Port Commission in Delcambre.

Part of the program is encouraging people to experience Vermilion Parish.

“That is getting out and seeing all the wonderful things Vermilion Parish has to offer,” Falgout said. “Maybe it’s going to Palmetto Island State Park. Maybe it’s enjoying the skate park (at A.A. Comeaux Park) in Abbeville. Maybe it’s catching and boiling crawfish.

“It’s about experiencing the parish’s bounty.”

The program also promotes being engaged with what is going on in the parish.

“It’s one thing if you spend your money locally,” Falgout said, “but do you participate locally? Are you involved with civic clubs? Do you go to your town council meetings? Do you run for office? Do you support someone who is running for office? We’re encouraging people to really pay attention, to really know where tax dollars are going and to hold elected officials and themselves accountable.

“It’s about being informed and participating along the way.”

The third part is to simple enjoy the parish.

“It’s really about enjoying the services and products that we have in our parish,” Falgout said.

The program will include a business spotlight.

“It’s a free way for businesses and organizations to participate in the program,” Falgout said. “We really want to talk about your business or organization.”

Applications for the spotlight can be found at www.developvermilion.org/keepitlocal or www.facebook.com/ keepitlocalvermilion.

“We are going to take everything you love about doing business in Vermilion Parish,” Falgout said, “and we are going to talk about it.

“Hopefully that inspires people to do the same.”

Shaun Hearen, Abbeville Meridional, Originally published August 16, 2017