Omaha group Keep Local Alive aims to support area shops

Published: Aug. 15, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Locally owned businesses are fighting to survive as one man is making sure Omaha doesn’t lose the mom-and-pop shops that make the city unique.

Coffee shops are known as gathering places filled with the sights of pastries and smells of freshly roasted beans.

But they’re not immune to the financial toll the global pandemic is having.

“It’s not easy. People are used to what they’re used to. So to get people to break those chains and come to a small locally owned business, it’s a big ask for some people,” said Traci Page, manager and co-owner of Karma Koffee.

Karma Koffee has been in West Omaha for six years and sources its ingredients locally.

“We rally around local vendors just like the community rallies around us,” she said.

While the pandemic has been tough, the community has been supporting the coffee shop to keep them afloat.

“It gets me right there because we work so hard to provide something really great to the community. We want to be here. We want to stay,” Page said.

But now they’re getting more help from the Keep Local Alive.

The Facebook group was started two and a half months ago -- it already has thousands of followers.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Bobby Johnson said with a laugh. He is one of the co-founders of the group.

“Keep Local Alive is all about moving consumers, local minded consumers, from words to action. Where they actually take action and support locally owned businesses and have a meaningful impact, as opposed to saying, ‘yeah, I support local,’” he said.

Johnson and his partner came up with the slogan - Move 20 Save Local.

The thought is if everyone in Omaha spends $20 a month at a locally owned business instead of a chain, millions will be put into our local economy.

“Just in Omaha proper, if everyone did that for a year, simple to do, $93 million would stay in the local economy,” Johnson added.

If you add in the surrounding communities -- the number keeps going up.

While the group already has a huge following in just a short amount of time, Johnson and Page hope the momentum keeps going far past the pandemic.

“People want to improve, they want to reignite local economies, the best way to do it? Support local businesses,” he said.

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