Love Oly campaign aims to embrace South Sound businesses

After months of struggling, the local business community in the Thurston County are reaching back to customers who helped many shops stay afloat during the economic shutdown.

The Olympia Downtown Alliance kicked off its Love Oly Shop and Dine Week campaign this Monday as a way to share the love but not every business survived the hardships.

“Bottom line we’re not seeing as many customers,” said ODA’s Executive Director Todd Cutts.

The campaign comes after a June survey revealed about one-half of the respondents said they would not return to the city’s core until a COVID-19 vaccine was available or businesses were in the final phase of re-opening.

“We’ve been forced to understand how we can adjust our business model,” said Cutts.

“We’re very concerned with our customers and want to make sure they’re safe,” said Dean Jones who owns Encore Chocolates and Teas.

Jones says his customers flocked to his business’s website for their treats during the shutdown and their sweet tooth has many returning to his store downtown.

“We have a full staff back on again,” he said.

“We’ve built this event on that community support,” said Cutts.

Those campaign works by spending $10 at 5 select stores. Doing so means customers can earn swag to help spread the Love Oly message.

Still, foot traffic in the city core is down and some shops didn’t survive.

Dillinger’s Cocktails and Kitchen is one of the latest to close its doors. Owners thanked their customers for the memories on the business’ webpage.

The campaign runs through the week.

Jones says he’s optimistic for the coming holiday shopping season but he’s preparing now if the pandemic forces yet another shutdown.

“We’re bringing in quantities a little slower just in case,” he said.