Making Roseville a business choice
27 Feb 2023
“Shop Small'' or “Choose Local” are typical examples of periodic campaigns economic developers use to spur economic activity and support jobs with small businesses within their community. Data supports these endeavors because for every dollar spent at a small business, 67¢ stays in its community and every ten jobs at a small business support an additional seven jobs within the community. Each aims to heighten residents’ awareness of shops, stores and providers near their homes.
Roseville, MN, took a significant step in 2022 toward building that ongoing focus with its “Choose Roseville” campaign.
Goal to support
Late in 2021, Roseville’s City Council charged the Roseville Economic Development Authority (EDA) to determine how to support local small businesses better. The EDA employed Golden Shovel Agency to create an innovative new way to support local businesses, which became the Choose Roseville campaign. The goal was to provide benefits to locally-owned businesses, such as:
- Increase residents’ awareness of local businesses, deepening their relationships and attracting new customers.
- Directing more traffic to local businesses, creating opportunities for increased revenue.
- Enhance the digital presence of local businesses, which they can use indefinitely to promote their business.
- Strengthening community pride through increased awareness, deepened relationships and opportunities for participation.
- Change buying behaviors to have residents think about the options they can find locally.
An underlying theme of the campaign was to build collaborative and supportive relationships that promote business sustainability and cultural diversity within Roseville. Therefore, the program had a vital outreach component with Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) stakeholders. While critical to Roseville’s ecosystem, growth for many BIPOC small business owners has been hampered by a lack of access to traditional capital, an established network of business resources and support or a lack of awareness of how to access these supports.
The Choose Roseville campaign successfully enhanced the relationship between the City of Roseville and the small business community. Over the program’s scope of approximately one year, the Choose Roseville team visited 187 businesses up to five times each, for over 935 site visits. The EDA interns and Golden Shovel Agency social media coaches created goodwill between Roseville’s small business owners and the city, opening doors to conversations about growth and city services.
“Business owners were so appreciative of the support we were providing. Even if they didn’t want help right now, they were so thankful to be asked,” said Daija Williams, Choose Roseville Social Media Coach.
Of the 187 businesses visited, 35 small businesses in Roseville received various services. Of the 35, half were BIPOC-owned businesses that chose to participate with the program, with more than 50 receiving multiple visits.
“I can tell that it meant a lot to businesses that we were stopping by and offering to help,” said Ruben Dominguez, EDA Intern. “During our last report, I shared how minority business owners were often uncomfortable receiving support from the city. It’s taken multiple visits and months to earn their trust and reach the point where they are comfortable reaching out.”
Local businesses received numerous services from the Choose Roseville campaign. It began with a Choose Roseville microsite within the EDA’s existing website, creating social media profiles on popular platforms and generating branding materials that could be left with local business owners. Golden Shovel Agency held a live webinar and an in-person event to promote the campaign and engage local stakeholders through social media and direct messages to community and business leaders.
Getting out to the community to offer hands-on support was the defining attribute of the Choose Roseville campaign. Ruben Dominguez, an EDA intern, and Daija Williams and Gogee Yang, social media coaches, visited small businesses to answer questions and offer support. Many business owners were unfamiliar with the advantages a social media presence could provide or could not dedicate their valuable time to it.
“I did not understand how to market my business at first and the City of Roseville helped me make my business known,” said Amare Solomon, owner of Safeway Home Healthcare.
Other services the campaign offered small business owners included:
- A social media strategy to promote their business once the campaign was completed.
- Inclusion in the city newsletter
- Digital ad campaign promotion on Google, Facebook, Instagram and NextDoor to drive traffic to their websites and business.
- Success stories written about the business or business owner, offering a more detailed look into their success in Roseville or why they chose Roseville to operate.
- Small business promotional videos created through a partnership with Nine North, a local video solutions provider.
- Post job openings with the City of Roseville.
- Referrals to Ramsey County’s free business advising entity, Open To Business.
In a survey in the fall of 2022, 95% of responding businesses said they would recommend the Choose Roseville campaign to other small business owners. They greatly valued the social media coach, as 89% of participants rated their experience with the social media coach as positive or highly positive. For more than 60% of participants, the Choose Roseville campaign was the first time they received services or support from the City.
The Choose Roseville campaign has been a resounding success, increasing traffic and sales for locally-owned businesses. The results build on Roseville’s already robust ecosystem where small business owners feel welcomed and appreciated.
Roseville’s strengths make doing business in the city advantageous over other locations. As a Twin Cities suburb, Roseville’s businesses have easy access to a large labor pool and potential customers. With I-35W and Highway 36 running through Roseville and bus rapid transit that links to light rail in St. Paul, city businesses have easy access to much of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
Sites and properties are available for businesses looking to locate or expand in Roseville. Local economic developers are available to make it easy to find the perfect location and possibly take advantage of financial incentives to make a move an even better investment.
The Roseville Economic Development Authority works to support entrepreneurs and small businesses, focus on business retention and expansion, lead workforce development and assist with marketing and promotion to ensure the local community can achieve the highest quality of life possible. Reach out to the Roseville Economic Development Authority to see how we can help today!
"The Roseville Economic Development Authority (REDA) coordinates and administers economic development and redevelopment initiatives for the City of Roseville, MN. It serves as a comprehensive resource for businesses seeking to startup and grow in the area. In addition to prioritizing business retention and expansion, the REDA connects area employers with the dedicated and talented workforce they need to succeed and thrive."