As the Pasco County Commissioner representing District 2, which encompasses most of Wesley Chapel, it is a big part of Mike Moore’s job to help local businesses that are struggling during the current Covid-19 pandemic in a variety of ways — from forming committees to find relief to helping engineer, and vote on, small business grants to making plans for an uncertain future.

But, one of the more unique and fun ways Moore is helping out is by giving social media shout-outs to local businesses with the requisite #SupportPasco hashtag.

Moore began encouraging area restaurants to send him their T-shirts — he promised to return them — so he could wear them in videos he has been posting on his Facebook and Twitter pages. Whatever shirt he is wearing that day, Moore shares a little about the business and encourages viewers to stop by and grab some takeout.

He started with Al’s Famous Pizza in San Antonio, and has also featured 900º Woodfired Pizza, Buttermilk Provisions and The Brass Tap.

Not only does Moore get to shine the spotlight on local businesses, it also gives him the chance to show off his new Grizzly Adams-style “quarantine beard.”

“It was just a fun thing that kind of started just to get the word out about these places,” Moore says. “It’s tough right now for them to spend money on advertising, so this is a big help. Every little bit you can do to help these small businesses is worth it.”

His videos generally receive more than 1,000 views, and he says his Facebook inbox is jammed with requests.

“I can’t even get to them all,” he says. “I sit there in bed at night trying to get through them.”

Moore’s video spotlights have been such a hit that he has opened it up to small businesses other than restaurants, and increased his output to two videos a day.

Social media has become a popular way to support local businesses, by sharing various specials and news about restaurants and other businesses. Moore has lots of company when it comes to promotion — the Wesley Chapel Community page on Facebook has open threads where small businesses can advertise, and here at the Neighborhood News  (also promoted by Moore), we have done a series of videos and Facebook posts promoting local businesses, with more to come.

As businesses begin reopening under new rules and new hours, getting the word out will be more important than ever.

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