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(NECN: Jack Thurston, Rockingham, Vt.) - Andrew Adams could become the next big viral video star. "I was very happy to do it," he said of his participation in a colorful music video project in Rockingham, Vt.
"Rockingham Style" is the title of the video that costumes Adams in garish blazers as he dances through Rockingham's downtown district, Bellows Falls. The community and business owners are Adams' co-stars. The video is a send-up of South Korean rapper Psy's "Gangnam Style," one of this year's seemingly unavoidable songs that's ripe for parodies.
In the video made with equipment from Falls Area Community TV, Adams repeatedly sings, "Shop in Rockingham," set to the karaoke soundtrack of "Gangnam Style." The message encourages folks to buy books, jewelry and other items from local merchants this holiday season.
Hardware and sporting goods store owner Jeremy Haskins told New England Cable News he is already hearing from customers who have come in to tell him they saw his business featured in the video. It has been uploaded to YouTube, appears on the local cable access channel and its website, and town residents have spread "Rockingham Style" via Facebook and Twitter.
"I think it was fantastic," Haskins said of the idea. "[Customers are] just really relating to it in a positive way. They understand the money that comes into this till and this business is going to be pushed back into their community."
Haskins pointed to a donation of paint to a building project at the community’s recreation center as one example of how local businesses and their customers have a symbiotic relationship.
Adams' father in law, Mike Smith, thought up the project. He told NECN he is not an economic development official or businessman, just a "normal guy" who works at the area health center and likes making videos. Smith said he realized one day he could use his hobby to support shop owners. "The global economy starts right here," Smith said. "It's across the street. It's with your neighbor."
Smith noted that while this project was specific to Rockingham and Bellows Falls, the concept could apply to any shopping district in the country that features predominantly locally-owned stores, restaurants, and service providers.
"I'm not saying everyone should come from around the country and shop in Rockingham," Smith explained. "I'm saying people from Springfield should shop in Springfield. People from Burlington should shop in Burlington. People in Boston should support those things in Boston."
Leanne Tingay is the coordinator of Vermont's designated downtown program. It falls under the Vt. Agency of Commerce's Dept. of Economic, Housing, and Community Development. Tingay told NECN studies show when you spend a dollar in Bellows Falls or in one of the state's other 22 official downtowns, $.87 stays in the local economy. That’s more than twice what stays local when you spend at big box stores, Tingay said. “It is employing people," Tingay said of box store popularity, "And that's a very good thing, it's just that those dollars don't circulate and recirculate within the community the same way supporting a local business does."
Andrew Adams has found his dance is pretty contagious.
"People at work have been asking me to dance all day at work," he chuckled.
Adams hopes the message behind his wacky dancing, to buy local through the holidays and beyond, is as memorable as the spoof itself.
"Being able to put your dollars into your local economy is a very important message," Adams said, smiling.