Category Archives: Trend: Localism

Trend: Localism

A rediscovery of, and intentional support of, all that is available where we live, work and play; an embracing of the diversity and options we hadn’t noticed; a return to family (redefined); a focus on “home”

This isn’t about content marketing.

This should be a blog post about content marketing. But, frankly, it’s just not happening. Tonight my thoughts are wandering. I cannot stop thinking about all the incredible things that are happening around us these days.

The Soda City Market is the perfect way to start a Saturday. And, if you're lucky, you might catch a delicious, unplugged set from Chris Compton and the Ruby Brunettes.

Tonight, I was grateful to be part of the fifth anniversary celebration of 701 Whaley, an Olympia landmark that was shepherded back to relevancy from the brink of demolition. A few blocks uptown, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz (!!) was in town hosting the opening of her Pilgrimage show now on display at the Columbia Museum of Art. It was also a big night for the Main Street Merchants who were hosting one of their festive, popular First Thursday celebrations. Recent weeks have also seen people flocking downtown for the Jam Room Music Festival, the flourishing, weekly Soda City Market, and the beautifully refurbished Township Auditorium, which recently hosted rock phenoms Band of Horses and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

As a longtime resident of the city, I can safely say it’s been a long time since so much activity has sprung from the city center. But there’s more to what’s happening than simply playing host to the festivals, markets, meetings and merchants that are popping up all over downtown. Between the growing numbers of people, you can feel something bigger in the air. It’s an energy; a blend of excitement, anticipation, optimism and pride that’s been in short supply for years.

If one ever wanted proof that downtown is getting its groove back, the dance card full of activities last night would have been a prime example. But what’s most thrilling for all of us? We’re still in the earliest stages of downtown’s renaissance. And I already know I love it!

Maybe next time we’ll talk a little content marketing.

With love, from Pipa RN Brasil

I thought you would like this said the text from my sister-in-law, Rejane, who was spending the summer in her native Brazil.

(Don’t you love anything that arrives—whether via the mail, cell phone or a big package at your door—with that particular introduction?)

And so I scrolled.

What on earth? I wondered, looking at a photo of a bunch of *junk* attached to a gigantic board.

And then there was this.

Well, that explains everything.


Since I can’t read Portuguese, I was intrigued and most anxious to get the story from Rejane. She reports a group of locals became fed-up with people disrespecting their beach and took matters into their own hands. The signs read:

Do not throw trash on the beach. Preserve our paradise.

This trash was collected within less than a mile around this beach. Welcome to our beach!

(Yes, in the bottom right corner is a mass of disgusting cigarette butts.)

Then she sent this:

Pipa's gorgeous beach


Pretty daggone effective, that’s what I’m thinking, and a great reminder of the communications power of SHOW, DON’T TELL.


America’s New Frontier: Made In Detroit

What kind of people forge full-speed ahead into treacherous territory with little but a dream and no guarantee for success?

Who were these people?

Americans have been doing it for centuries, and I’m sure the parents of those early pioneers thought their children had lost their ever-loving minds. But what kind of country would we be without these fearless lunatics? Their undying optimism laid the foundations for some of our greatest cities: Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco – to name a few.

Then there’s Detroit. It’s almost impossible to miss the ubiquitous coverage of the city’s demise. But squeezed between the contentious debate over the city’s bankruptcy and the photo essays detailing infrastructural decay, the story of a new American pioneer is slowly unfolding.

They are the native Detroiters who stand their ground, seeking innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities to strengthen their community. And then there are the newcomers – many young people – who come for the cheap rent and stay with the hopes of playing a part in the city’s rebirth. Some of these people have even left behind sensible upbringings and beautiful suburban lawns. I’m sure their parents are horrified.

It’s a story equal parts inspiration and terror. You can participate in the next great chapter of American history, but if you get hurt in the process, it might be hours before an ambulance arrives. I can’t help but be excited when I hear about the folks who brave it anyway.

Amidst the ruins, a new generation of lunatics is dreaming. They see their destiny inextricably linked to the city they call home. New ideas and businesses are emerging. There are tech startups, ad agencies, super cool small businesses, and local eateries.  There are also household names completely reinventing themselves.

I bought this journal from Shinola. They used to make Don Draper's shoe polish, but today they're breathing new life into American manufacturing with beautiful watches, bicycles, journals, and leather goods.

True, Detroit has a long, long way to go, and the journey will be perilous. There is no guarantee the risk will even pay off. But like so many pioneers who came before them, the people who invest in this city, both literally and figuratively, share a common perspective.

Detroit isn’t a wasteland to give up on. It is a new frontier worth conquering.

(Oh, and for the naysayers out there, things could be worse. I have two words for you: Dust. Bowl. )

The Wonderful World of WECO

What's your favorite WECO business?

For the past two weeks we at Riggs have done a lot of talking about WECO. It’s more than the building. It’s West Columbia. And while most people’s attention may be focused on what’s happening on the other side of the river, we think we’ve got a pretty hip thing going on in our little neighborhood. So I asked my co-workers, “What’s your favorite WECO business?”

Catherine Doyle
Sun Spirit Yoga and Wellness
.  It’s an awesome yoga studio, where I’ve been getting my teacher training and Tzima (the owner) is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met.  Plus she makes lots of cool jewelry, soaps, lotions, oils, tea blends, etc., so there’s always something new to check out.

Kevin Archie
One of my favorite WECO businesses is True BBQ — “Home of the Pretty Lady AND Sexy Lady sauce!”

True BBQ, located at 1237 D Avenue, West Columbia

Will Weatherly
Paul’s Barber Shop
. The Aroma. Paul. The Pool Table. The Aroma.

Jenni Brennison (me!)
116 State
. It’s a great place to grab an espresso or a glass of wine while sharing small plates with friends.

Ryon Edwards
My favorite would have to be Old Mill Antique Mall, because you just never know what you’ll find in that place.
Runner Up:
Jimmy’s Citgo, because it’s the closest place to get cigs, lottery tickets, energy drinks, beer, gas, breakfast and/or just about anything else you’d ever need.

Nate Puza
New Brookland Tavern. You will see your favorite bands before they are famous, the drinks are cheap, and they have an old-school Mortal Kombat arcade game. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Cathy Monetti
BUG Outfitters. ‘Cause I like to play outside.

Julie Turner
The Original D’s Wings. It has the authentic character chains try to reproduce using interior design. And then there was that one time Billy made me chicken wings wrapped in bacon.

Kevin Smith
It’s not a business, but we have the best view from the Gervais Street Bridge.

You can't see this view from downtown Columbia.


Hands-On Experience

There’s something fitting about my first week as a writing apprentice at Riggs falling just days away from April 20, 2013, the sixth anniversary of Record Store Day. While the event, which encourages music lovers to support their local, independently owned music stores, has become an international phenomenon, it has also garnered the beleaguered music industry’s attention by reviving a corner of the market once believed to be barely standing on its last leg. Vinyl record sales have gradually increased since 2008, and in 2012 they reached a 15-year high.

Columbia's Papa Jazz Records

While the numbers reflect only a small drop in the larger industry’s bucket, for me, this growing (and they are growing) niche of consumers says a lot about how consumer culture, in general, is changing. Instant gratification and tech-driven convenience isn’t the selling point it used to be. The Great Recession seems to have spawned a desire to have something to show for one’s hard earned dollar. A new generation is falling in love with their record collections.

From the careful removal of the disc from its cover and jacket, to the equally cautious placement of the needle and the satisfying hiss as it moves into the silent grooves between each song, a preference for vinyl is as much about the owner’s tangible experience as it is about the warm, robust tone only a record can produce. Vinyl seems to imprint its grooves upon our memories in a way digital music has yet to achieve. My dad has a story for every album he’s ever bought. Now I can say the same about many of my friends. More importantly, you can’t carry a record around in a pocket-sized device. We invite vinyl into our homes, allow it to take up space, and return to our favorite albums again and again. It’s a long-term, committed relationship.

A new generation is drawn to the tangible experience of vinyl.

 And it’s this thought that brings me back to my first few days as an apprentice at Riggs. Earlier today, I enthusiastically updated the work section of my Facebook. Jokingly I listed my position as “Wannabe Peggy Olson,” in tribute to Mad Men’s plucky copywriter. But as I thought about Record Day, with its own hints of nostalgia filtered through a modern lens, I was reminded that we now live in a world where a snappy slogan touting the features of a well designed product isn’t enough to ensure market success. These days, with so many options and dollars stretched thin, brands that aspire to greatness must first inspire consumer engagement above anything else. Advertising tells people what they should buy. A strong brand strategy guarantees they will never forget why they made that decision. It paves the way for that tangible experience and ignites the initial spark for an enduring relationship. That’s why I wanted to apprentice with Riggs. Anyone can write “effective copy.” Here we strive to write love stories.