We interviewed co-founders Bryce Bandy and Chris Branson about their Keep It Local OK program. Branson said they’d looked at some of the different models of promoting local businesses in other cities and states. Initially Branson noticed this trend of local promotion on a road trip when they’d stopped in Austin, Texas. Branson said the phrase “Go Local” or “Shop Local” was repeated over and over and that it had peaked his curiosity. He filed the information away and then later looked it up again when he got back home. As he learned more about the importance of shopping local and of other similar initiatives around the country, from places such as North Carolina to Oregon, he wanted to bring that concept home to Oklahoma. Both founders said they are very proud of Oklahoma City and all the unique shops and attractions.
The Keep It Local OK program helps independently-owned “mom and pop” businesses promote their services and offer specific benefits to their patrons with a rewards card much the same way a corporate retailer does. But where as a huge multinational corporation has thousands or millions of workers to delegate tasks to, a small “mom and pop” does not. Enter Keep It Local OK. They promote businesses with videos, run information about a business’s sale or event, design and produce the cards, and they’ve even got an app so that patrons can figure out where their nearest Keep It Local OK business is located and what kinds of rewards are offered at that location.
Bandy said they originally approached traditional brick and mortar stores in Oklahoma City, but as the program grows they are expanding into Tulsa and have even been approached by local musicians as well. Bandy said they hadn’t thought about artists and musicians when they’d conceived the program, but he said they are open to developing new ways to help these groups too. To that end, for a local entity to participate in the program there is first a consultation with Bandy and Branson. Businesses who choose to do participate pay $500 for a year. For small businesses, it would seem a yearly investment such as Keep It Local OK is potentially an affordable means of advertising in the community.