Here at It’s Time, we are celebrating over 100 million digital impressions and love for our city! This is a significant milestone, as impressions are how many times people have potentially viewed our videos, blogs, press and posts. With a city of 70,000 citizens, you can imagine why we are so excited and honored by the support of OUR people, as well as those who are trying to discover what Wilmington is all about.
Like OUR President Joe Biden said, “Delaware is a place of hope, light, and limitless possibilities.”
The past 6 months have been an exciting ride! We’ve covered how Wilmingtonians are enjoying our city and coming together as a community to make this “new normal” work. We’ve celebrated the opening of new businesses, explored ways to get active, and even welcomed our city’s first signature cocktail, ‘The Wilmington.'”
To date, we have covered over 300 small businesses and Wilmingtonians through blogs, videos, and social media posts, and we aren’t done yet! In fact, Wilmington is home to over 1,500 small businesses, so we still have work to do!
Quick Review: What is It’s Time?
For those just tuning in, the It’s Time team has refocused our efforts to support the resurgence of our great city in the face of COVID. We are doing this by SAFELY shining a light on our local small businesses and innovative workspaces. We also explore the best places to live, dine and play, and showcase community organizations to give back to.
As State Senator Sarah McBride told us: “As someone who was born and raised here, and now a member of the city’s legislation, there is no title that I’m prouder to have than Wilmingtonian. Our creativity, our diversity, our innovative and persistent spirit – those are the defining features that makes Wilmington a great place to live, to work, and to play.”
It’s Time to #UnlockYourLockdown
When I first started working on It’s Time, I knew all of the things I loved about the city and wanted to be as authentic as possible. Our team decided on the simple focus of showcasing the way our citizens “work, live, and play together as a community”.
We quickly realized we needed to reach out to our community leaders, residents, business owners, and audiences on social media to ask for THEIR input. This is still one of my favorite parts about this job and why I think It’s Time has been so successful at showing off the TRUE Wilmington. This approach also provided our community a voice to share their passion in patronizing our local businesses in the new normal.
We all know collaboration comes naturally to our city and state, simply because of its intimate size and leadership! We depend on our relationships with one another to get things done and succeed. We also strive to lift each other up and support each other’s initiatives.
“For me, there is no such thing as you win and I lose…There’s room for ALL of us,” commented Quincy Watkins, one of our #PeopleOfWilmDE. Watkins is a pastor of the Neighborhood Church and owner of Milk + Honey Coffeehouses.
We’ve learned how to work in Wilmington from innovative leaders representing the likes of Chemours and CSC Station. I’ve had frank conversations about how Wilmingtonians are living, specifically about recidivism and agriculture at Second Chances Farm. I’ve played with the best of them; from throwing axes at Constitution Yards, brewing beer at Stitch House Brewery, and earning my green thumb with the Delaware Center for Horticulture. We’ve also co-hosted socially distanced and virtual events to further connect the community with businesses: like Constitution Yards, Wilmington Brew Works, Blitzen the pop up Christmas bar, and a very special partnership with Le Cavalier and Aviation Gin! (more on that later)
The real conversations where our residents discuss their hopes, concerns, and reality of living in Wilmington is the most rewarding part of this “job”. I emphasize the use of quotations because I rarely feel like that’s what I’m doing. This campaign is giving our city a platform to shine, and our team is passionate about continuing to do that work.
One of my favorite evenings was chatting with Nataki Oliver of The Sold Firm art gallery on Tatnall Street. After a tour of the gallery (their next exhibit is this month!), Nataki and I had an open and honest conversation about our city. “We have what it takes to be more than what the negative labels are. Community based grassroots can’t do it alone. Safety and quality of life should be the standard for all in Wilmington.”
It didn’t take us long to realize we needed a way to showcase the diversity of the #PeopleOfWilmDE, not just the businesses and the attractions of Wilmington. The PEOPLE, after all, are what make our community vibrant, successful, and worth sticking around for.
We’ve featured Wilmingtonians of all ages, like 18 year old STEM Queen Jackie Means, an upcoming pioneer in technology and innovation. I met Martha Morgan, a business owner of 30+ years who has seen Wilmington expand and transform. A common theme among these individuals is wanting to see Wilmington succeed, and encouraging our residents to get involved.
To quote another #PeopleOfWilmDE Wilmington Police Officer, Anthony Easterling, “We are actually experiencing the growth and development (of our city) right before our very own eyes. It’s happening right now. All we have to do is… realize that this is a teachable moment in life which no syllabus can explain.”
Enter Ryan Reynolds
What really tipped the scales for us at It’s Time was partnering up with Aviation Gin to create a drink contest to establish “The Wilmington,” our city’s first signature cocktail.
We had 25 community members, restaurants, and out-of-staters rally to submit a cocktail they thought captured the essence of the city!
This contest snowballed, and resulted in a virtual live stream event at Le Cavalier to celebrate winners and Forty Acres residents Kate Gantner and Fazal Vandal. We had collaboration from local press, State Senator Sarah McBride, Le Cavalier, and the Aviation Gin team from NYC to pull it all off! Beforehand, we asked our community to vote on an honorary “People’s Choice Award” and received over 19,000 votes in just one week. You can read more about the entire journey here.
The next week I was sitting at a local bar and overheard a guest asking for, “the city’s new cocktail, you know that contest that just happened?” I smiled behind my drink.
The cherry on top (and what tipped us over 100 million impressions!) was when Aviation’s owner Ryan Reynolds RESHARED the winning cocktail to his Instagram story!
HOTUS (Hometown of the United States)
We have felt the warmth of the spotlight for a little while now. After winning the Presidential election, Wilmingtonian Joe Biden became POTUS, which makes us the new HOTUS!
The national press has been awfully curious about the Wilmington we know and love! We are proud to show them a city rich in diversity, innovation and inclusion and are passionate about helping to make that narrative clear!
We have hosted press from all over the nation to visit our city on a monthly basis to get to know the new Hometown of the United States. Our team has had the pleasure of meeting reporters from GoNomad, Food & Wine, The Daily Beast and Travel+Leisure.
Daily Beast writer Brandon Withrow observed, “Wilmington is a place moving forward, a place for tourism—especially for safer, regional trips during the pandemic—and a great place to live.”
We’ve had two pieces written by Travel+Leisure, one which cited Wilmington and Delaware as #12 in “The 50 Best Places to Travel in 2021”. Her other article noted “President-elect Joe Biden’s Hometown Makes for the Perfect Weekend Escape–Where to Eat, Sleep, and Play.”
Reporter Betsy Andrews commented, “Many of the recent developments that have drawn young professionals to the capital of Wilmington from nearby hubs like Philadelphia — creative businesses, a high-caliber culinary scene, fewer crowds — also appeal to travelers.”
We’ve done our part to celebrate becoming HOTUS as well. Our most recent collaboration was with Wilmington Brew Works to host a #HOTUS Quizzo night to celebrate Wilmington becoming the Hometown of the United States! We also launched a “How do you know Joe?” contest where our viewers submitted their favorite encounters with #46!
So, What’s Next?
We have a lot of exciting projects coming up!
Our next initiative is geared towards “Celebrating Black Excellence in Wilmington” an evening and partnership with REACH Riverside and hosted by CEO Logan Herring. In celebration of Black History Month, the virtual event on will include a panel of black men to discuss their personal experiences of growing up in Wilmington. The two part series will continue next month to highlight the personal experiences of our city’s black women in honor of Women’s History Month. The event will be hosted by The WRK Group’s COO Kenyetta McCurdy-Byrd. We hope these candid conversations shed a light on the true experience as black people and inspire others to see that, together, we can support one another to succeed.
Be sure to tune in to the Facebook Live event on Thursday, Feb. 25th at 7pm.
Join the Movement!
To date, our PR campaign is sitting at 773,237,500 impressions. Remember, that’s the number of times our public relation placements, website, social media posts, blogs, and videos are potentially viewed and includes key influencers like Ryan Reynolds. With over 10,000 loyal followers on social media, our fans are always ready to weigh in to show the world the best Wilmington has to offer.
For us, it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about the relationships. Moving forward, we want to continue to have those open and honest conversations about what our city needs, and where it’s going. We want to unite and lift up the voices of our city’s 70,000 citizens and thousands of organizations and businesses.
So, email us with your recommendations for compelling stories at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for our mailing list through our website at WilmToday.com.
We want to hear from YOU about fascinating Wilmingtonians, innovative businesses, incredible community events, or even the best place to get a cocktail for happy hour. I might even join you for that drink (all in the name of work, of course!)