MOVES by businesses to boost the local economy are making a big impression throughout the country, with the national broadcaster among fans of the latest venture by the Ennis Development Forum.
Following the success of last year’s Ennis Share the Feeling viral clip, the development forum are this year urging people to Share the Dream with their newest production.
This year’s video clip, featuring plenty of familiar places and faces, is already heading towards 10,000 views between Youtube and Vimeo.
The video has also been shown on RTÉ’s Today daytime show, with presenters Blathnaid Ní Chofaigh and Norah Casey heaping praise on the production and the local efforts being made in Ennis.
Appearing on the TV show was Aoife Madden of Ennis Development Forum, who highlighted the many initiatives underway in Ennis to boost business and that the vast majority shops in the town are independently owned.
As well as showcasing some of the best that Ennis has to offer, this new video also aims to highlight the importance of Shannon Airport, not just to the town but the entire region.
Aoife explained, “Last year’s video was such a success, there were over 30,000 views last year and it’s even doing the rounds again this year. This year’s video has 9,000 already and by the time The Champion comes out this week we’re looking at having 10,000. I’ve had a lot of emails already from people who have seen this year’s video and they are telling me that they are so excited to be coming home to Ennis for Christmas.
“We were delighted that Today got in touch with us about showing the video. We told them that we are Ireland’s friendliest town. They were shocked to hear that over 90% of businesses in Ennis are independently owned.
“People often think the grass is greener on the other side but we get lots of people coming into Ennis from Galway and Limerick on the train every Saturday. Just last weekend, nine women passed our shop with empty pull along bags on their way into town to shop. When people come to Ennis, they are just blown away with what we have.
“The message of the Ennis Development Forum hasn’t changed in four years, it’s about jobs, being the friendliest town and showing what Ennis has to offer. The likes of RTÉ are beginning to realise what we are trying to do here.”
This year’s video, produced with Gavin Gallagher of Dreamcatcher Productions, centres on Ennis and also the connections with people now living abroad.
Brian O’Neill of the forum said, “So many people have family members that have emigrated in the last year so this video really has resonance. I think this year we will exceed on last year’s viewership figures because of The Gathering aspect, this is going to continue beyond the Christmas period.
“The whole idea of this video is to raise the profile of the town for customers and businesses. We have a beautiful town, it’s a fantastic town and we don’t know how lucky we are to live here with the shopping, nightlife, the streets, everything.
“People ask us are we losing shoppers to Limerick and Galway but what we have to do is get people from those cities to shop here. We have what they don’t have.”
Brian went on, “Shannon Airport is in the video this year and with The Gathering next year, the airport is hugely important in terms of tourism. It’s important that people watching this clip worldwide recognise that Ennis and Shannon are linked. For a lot of people who emigrated, Shannon Airport would have been the last place they would have seen when they left Ireland. Shannon Airport is a key regional driver and this is about looking at the bigger picture.”
Michelle Madden added, “Including Shannon Airport in the video is very important. We need to get outside money into the town and it starts with Shannon Airport, if we can get the tourists and diaspora coming back to us then it will all go from there.”
Another member of the forum, Meg Griffin stated, “Last year’s video was more magical but this year we wanted the video to be very real. We have the farmers’ market, out on the farm with the cows, real faces, real places. This was a real combined effort and I believe it’s very important to have a feel-good factor in the town. A lot of businesses out there are feeling very isolated and this is really bringing people together.”
Last year’s video was financed by businesses in the town but the current economic climate means the forum felt it more appropriate to seek sponsorship this year.
“We sought private sponsorship for the project and our sponsors were hugely supportive, without them, this wouldn’t have happened. We had fantastic support from Shannon Airport in terms of making the facilities available to us,” said Meg.
Councillor Johnny Flynn, also on the forum, outlined the importance of keeping business local. “We have 6,000 people unemployed in Ennis and the reality is that for anybody spending €100 in a multinational shop, only €5.50 goes to the staff in wages, while a local shop sees €15.50 go to the staff. That multiplies yet again in the local economy. The feedback from this video has been unbelievable and it’s fantastic that Ennis as the information age town has utilised this means of communicating with the world.”
He urged other people with ideas to promote the town to come together in their own way and put their plans into action.
Aoife Madden said the forum have lots more ideas to promote the town and she is urging sponsors to come on board to help support their plans for 2013.
“At the end of the day, we have no finances, there is no membership fee for the forum. The people of the forum volunteer their time and we’re not making money from this. We have some brilliant ideas, big plans for next year and if we could get a big sponsor, we could do so many things for the town. They’d get good value for money,” she said.
She concluded, “The Ennis Development Forum wish all their customers, sponsors and friends a happy Christmas, and don’t forget to Share the Dream.”
The video can be found on both Youtube and Vimeo by searching Ennis Town 2012 Share The Dream.