Geneva man sets off on 68 city road trip to entice people to shop locally
GENEVA, Ill. – A Genevan puts his money where it is.
Bobby Johnson is the co-founder of Yocal. Johnson and Dave Loveland launched the service for local businesses in March 2020. Two weeks later, the COVID-19 shutdown began.
“We couldn’t just sit there and do nothing,” Johnson said. “We decided to start a movement called Keep Local Alive. It’s about educating people about the importance of supporting local businesses.”
The couple first started the movement in the Fox Valley area, where Johnson is from. He says they quickly realized that every city needed something like this. It was then that the idea of a road trip across the country was born.
The trip started in Sarasota, Florida, and ended in Seattle, Washington. At each stop along the way, they visited local shops for mom and dad, from clothing stores to pottery to restaurants.
“You don’t realize how many different and unique types of food there are,” Johnson explained. “I tried a burger that was actually made with donut batter as buns.”
The couple visited 68 cities because they say 68 cents of your dollar stays and flows into the local economy when you spend locally.
“The best way to invest in your community is to spend your money on local independent businesses that are in your community,” Johnson said. “It means a lot.”