‘Snapshots of Youngstown’ Aims to Boost Local Businesses

YOUNGSTOWN – A new effort by the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau aims to support local shopping by having Youngstown-area residents submit pictures at their favorite stores.

The agency created the “Snapshots of Youngstown” program –  a mix between a scavenger hunt and raffle – that encourages participants to submit pictures in seven categories, each pertaining to a certain industry or activity found in Mahoning County.

“I think all of our local businesses could use help and support at this time, so that’s why our seven categories do feature a wide variety of different businesses,” says Executive Director Linda Macala.

Participants are asked to take a photo of themselves purchasing products or visiting an attraction that qualifies for five of the seven categories – Let’s Eat, Treat Yourself, Relax, Locally Grown, Retail Therapy, Get Outdoors and Y-Town Landmarks. The photos can be uploaded to an entry from available at YoungstownLive.com. Twenty winners will receive a $25 gift card to a local business.

“Perhaps you’re going to visit one of our five wineries in the area,” Macala said. “Take a photo of that experience. Again, you’ve got another category checked off.”

snapshots of youngstown
Stone Fruit Coffee, Handel’s Ice Cream and L’uva Bella Winery are among the businesses that patrons take pictures at after buying products as part of the Snapshots of Youngstown program.

Submissions will be taken through Oct. 31, and photos must be taken in Mahoning County.

Macala said it took a few weeks to put the idea together and prepare for the competition. During that time, Mahoning County was designated Red by the Ohio Department of Health, according to the department’s color-coded map.

“If [participants] are going to stroll through The Butler Institute [of American Art], they’ve instituted very strict guidelines, they’re following all precautions,” Macala said. “And we want people to do what they feel comfortable doing, that’s why we offer plenty of options. For example, either dining in or carrying out.”

Macala and her coworkers were looking into ways other cities across the county were trying to encourage patronage at small businesses. After a discussion, they thought it was an easy way to encourage local shopping, while providing a simple avenue to participate since “people always have their phones with them.”

Macala also wanted to start the competition before the weather became too cold to partake in outdoor activities.

“We need these businesses,” Macala said. “They help our economy, no doubt about it, and we need them to still be here when travel resumes and people come to visit our community.

“They want to get a flavor or what we offer here. So we need those restaurants to stay in business,” she continued. “We need attractions and wineries still operating and functioning for our visitors as they come in the future.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.