Local News

Downtown Smithfield Makes YouTube Its Ad Outlet

Posted November 28, 2007

— Most people think of YouTube.com as a fun Web site to pass the time, but YouTube is the Downtown Smithfield Development Corp.'s newest marketing tool.

"We are opening our main street to the entire world," Chris Johnston said.

Johnson heads the non-profit group, which is working to bring more people and business into downtown Smithfield. He recently started producing short video spotlights of local businesses and posting them on YouTube.com.

"You know trying to find that niche market to get that word out has been tough, so anytime we can find free publicity, it's always the best," Johnson said.

Scott Gandolph's deli was the first to be profiled. His video was viewed about 1,000 times in a little over a week.

"We've had a lot of guests come in and talk about it. A couple kind of kidding us and razzing us. We've gotten two caterings off of it, though," Gandolph said.

Johnson plans to shoot one video a week, eventually featuring all 55 downtown businesses and events. He is working especially hard to promote Smithfield before the new U.S. Highway 70 Clayton Bypass opens.

"It will take about a 20-minute drive to get from downtown Raleigh to downtown Smithfield. So we're anticipating a huge amount of growth in the next couple of years," he said.

The Downtown Smithfield Development Corp. hopes its new Internet audience will translate into more visitors.

The non-profit group is also posting links to the YouTube video on its Web site. If all continues to go well, Johnson said he will look into other social networking tools to promote the town like MySpace.com.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • NCTeacher Nov 29, 2007

    OldRebel- did you read the story and notice that the Downtown Development Group is a NONPROFIT? Meaning they don't need to spend a ton on advertising?

  • NCTeacher Nov 29, 2007

    Downtown Smithfield has changed in a million ways in the past few years. I used to work at Creech's Pharmacy- where they still had the old fashioned soda counter and at the Howell Theater. When I finished college and started a real career, Smithfield was starting to grow. I barely recognized downtown the last time I was there so many new places had been renovated and opened. Looks like there is lots to do there now.

  • shecares Nov 29, 2007

    Raleigh is neet for those that live there, but no to those that don't live there. We like Smithfeild alot. Come on down and see what we are about you just might be surprized. Have a great day.

  • bobbythreesticks Nov 29, 2007

    If I were to place a bet, Pastor Joe was refering to all the beggars downtown CH. Knowing I'm expected to fork out a total of at least $5 to everyone begging for money by the time I get off of 40 at 15/501 until I sit down at the restaurant of choice in downtown.

  • k9sandQtrs Nov 29, 2007

    No, Smithfield isn't boring in the least! Tons of soap opera material right downtown.....

  • Tarheel Army Mom Nov 29, 2007

    Thanks for clearing that up Allison...geez..I would of never thought of that. Maybe I should have said Support instead of advertise. ;)

  • allison842 Nov 29, 2007

    Hey Pastor Joe, why'd you have to go bringing Chapel Hill into this? I happen to have enjoyed Chapel Hill's downtown immensely as a student there, and I still do when I return.

    And they probably don't use their local newspaper to do this advertising because they are trying to attract people to come in -- as in not the people who live there and read the local newspaper.

  • Tarheel Army Mom Nov 29, 2007

    Too bad they don't use THEIR LOCAL Newspaper to do this advertising...

  • Pastor Joe Nov 29, 2007

    Yes, we have a very nice downtown. More than what can be said about Chapel Hill.

  • senezncsu Nov 29, 2007

    It's claimed it will only take 20 minutes once the bypass opens. I remain skeptical, as it currently takes 45 minutes from I95 in Smithfield to Jones Franklin during the morning. No way that stretch saves 25 minutes.