Like many BrandSource members, Bakersfield, Calif.-based Urner’s is stepping up its social media efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak. It’s shop-local messaging, primarily on Facebook, reminds customers that it has been serving the community for more than 100 years, and continues to provide local sales, service and support through the current crisis.

As principal Steve Illingworth noted, the effort is also helping to address what Idler’s President Don Idler described as a trend on social media in the stay-at-home state of California to shame even essential businesses into closing.

“My primary responsibility is to help our employees stay employed and for Urner’s to survive,” Illingworth said in an email. While acknowledging that the Facebook posts are “risky” in the current climate, he believes “The community understands how important it is for the local independent to keep our doors open, and they’ll tolerate our motives more than they would a national retailer.”

Illingworth spent $500 for a one-week boost of a March 20 Facebook post, which resulted in hundreds of “likes” and 60 shares in just one day, and suggests members emphasize in their social media that they are providing essential products and services. Typical of the comments he received were “God bless every employee at Urner’s for their dedication to the community. Stay safe,” and “God bless you and all other local retailers.”

In addition, Urner’s is partnering with two local TV network affiliates to sponsor exclusive public service announcements informing viewers of charitable and other community assistance activities within its trading area.

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