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#314Together movement connects small businesses during coronavirus pandemic

“We just wanted to get the community together, all in one place, and just to rally everyone together as we are going through this unique and very uncertain time"

ST. LOUIS — The Together Movement is gaining momentum across the country, using social media to connect customers and local small businesses as many are forced to close their storefronts. 

#314TOGETHER kicked off the growing social movement right here in St. Louis. It was the dream child of two local companies, Experience Booklet and The Women’s Creative.

“We just wanted to get the community together, all in one place, and just to rally everyone together as we are going through this unique and very uncertain time,” said Women’s Creative co-founder Megan Rohall.

#314TOGETHER started just a week ago on Facebook and Instagram. Since then, more than 4,600 people — St. Louis community members and business owners — have joined the #314TOGETHER Facebook group. The hashtag has been used in more than 500 Instagram posts. 

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It serves as a virtual, centralized place to unify and inform the community of ways they can continue to support businesses as coronavirus physically isolates so many of us.

“It’s a way to feel connected even though we’re trying to socially distance ourselves,” YogaBuzz founder Elle Brodsky said. “That’s just the physical. Emotionally, we still need that connection.”

Brodsky has been using #314TOGETHER to get the word out about online yoga classes. Typically, YogaBuzz classes are held in-person at locations throughout the St. Louis region. Now, Brodsky and her instructors are teaching all their yoga, meditation and philosophy classes from their homes through Facebook Live.

“Making the sacrifices that we have to make to keep the community healthy is worth it,” Brodsky said. “So, we as an organization will continue to do whatever we can to share these practices for anybody who needs it and wants it. Hashtags like #314TOGETHER are a way for us to remember that one of St. Louis’ greatest strengths, I really truly feel, is how we come together and support each other.”

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Jenny Hill has felt that support. She’s opening her second business and is expecting her third child in April. She says #314TOGETHER has been a source of stability for her.

“It’s a community where we can help support each other, whether it’s venting about our hardships or promoting services people are offering,” she said. “I’ve seen any competition anyone originally had go out the window. Everybody’s just trying to help each other out. It helps us all work together.”

Her new hip-hop and strength training studio, Yes Honey, is slated to open in early fall. She’d planned an open house to celebrate the new space, which will now be done digitally on Instagram. She said the hashtag has helped her let people know about the adjustment.

In a similar way, #314TOGETHER has helped the founders of StrongHer, a women-only fitness company.

“We weren’t just concerned about the whole revenue part; we were really worried about the loss of community,” co-founder Gillyon Alexander said. “Obviously, the physical part of working out is huge. But the mental part is, too.”

She and co-founder Katy Ferguson typically hold classes at Oak Tree Park in Brentwood. Now, they’re meeting the community virtually, substituting brooms and milk jugs for the usual barbells and medicine balls.

Credit: KSDK

“#314TOGETHER is genius,” Ferguson said. “It’s been great to be able to interact with each other in a different way than all the stuff you see on your social media feed. There’s no fear behind it. It’s all uplifting, all positive support.”

It’s exactly what the movement’s creators were hoping for, Rohall said.

“It’s just been amazing to see the St. Louis community that we know and love come together to support each other and just really genuinely want to help each other.”

For information on the broader national movement, visit thetogethermovement.com.

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