SPRING HILL — Jaden Trotter claims he was basically shy. When a new sandwich shop opened a year and a half ago, he applied for work as a delivery driver, a job not requiring a lot of people skills.
But Ryan Noruzi, owner of the local Jimmy Johns franchise, saw more in Trotter during that job interview. Today, Trotter, 22, co-manages the eatery where he first resisted any supervisory role.
As a manager at a national chain, he’s a modest boss who’s learning the ropes of marketing. Most recently, at the behest of Noruzi, Trotter and co-manager Julia Colombo, 19, appeared in a video about National Small Business Week, April 29 – May 5. The managers announced the shop’s specials in the brief film that airs on the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce website and Facebook page.
More than a dozen Chamber business members have taken up the organization’s offer to film free promotional videos encouraging customers to "shop small" at their local sites. Current videos include a mattress firm, a chiropractic clinic, a women’s clothing store and more.
Chamber events coordinator Lindsay Cacciatore films the clips. Marketing is a shortfall for most small businesses, she said, and marketing is not the same as advertising.
"Marketing is what drives people, grabs their interest, gets their participation," Cacciatore said. Marketing can bring awareness of businesses through events, entertainment, community activities and involvement.
The chamber itself is a marketing organization, Cacciatore pointed out, providing get-out-the-word opportunities, including the promo videos, to its members. The chamber also launched social media search tags #SmallBusinessHernando and #ShopHernando for posts commenting on local retail and restaurant experiences during Small Business Week.
To most people, "small business" means a mom-and-pop sort of place, said Chamber executive director Pat Crowley, but even many national chain outlets qualify as small businesses, including Noruizi’s Jimmy John’s franchise.
Why support small businesses? National statistics reveal that small businesses create nearly two-thirds of new jobs in the United States annually and employ more than half of all Americans. Other pluses, according to the Huffington Post: They have a strong preference for hiring local people, have more flexibility and can be started by almost anyone.
Marketing them is essential, the Chamber believes.
Learn-as-you-go manager Trotter agrees.
Trotter had more he wanted to tout in his brief video — the sandwich shop’s money-making opportunities for non-profit organizations, for instance, and how the chain contributes during national disasters such as Hurricane Irma.
The once shy youth is becoming a marketer.
Contact Beth Gray at [email protected]