HUDSON -- In the middle of a pandemic, with many businesses closed, Hudson was in need of a little heartening. The Chamber of Commerce’s "We Heart Hudson" campaign brought it, inspiring community members to share what they love about Hudson and continue to support its local business community.

Now the campaign is pivoting to include a tourism focus as well, telling people to “Follow Your Heart to Hudson - Hudson Has Heart.”

Tricia Christiansen of Christiansen Creative started the campaign because she wanted to create something positive in a difficult time.

“Everything was happening so quickly, and it was becoming evident everywhere, not just in Hudson but across the country, that small businesses were being threatened,” Christiansen said.

She reached out to Mary Claire Olson Potter at the Chamber to do it, and the “We Heart Hudson” initiative started in the spring. Christiansen Creative worked on the campaign pro bono, and Potter raised funds for the various stickers, street banners and more.

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With the stay-at-home order, many people were turning to online chains to make purchases. Christiansen wanted to remind them local businesses were still an option.

“These local businesses, service or otherwise, they will take your phone call and provide top level service, they will take your Facebook message and get you what you want,” she said.

The campaign compiled stories from individuals about what they love about Hudson, and highlighted the businesses, parks and attractions that they submitted.

People could also nominate businesses that were doing well with safety measures. Those businesses were recognized with Chamber bucks.

The goal was always to promote positivity, Christiansen said.

“The other side of this is it was already divisive right from the get go,” she said. “It is easy to be confused and angry and frustrated, but we wanted to be solution-driven.”

The campaign created a bright point, Christiansen said. She was happy with how little negativity it saw.

Since April, the campaign has hit an average of 20,000-plus impressions on Facebook, and engagement of about 12,000.

“Which means our community was into,” Christiansen said. “They liked seeing the stories, they liked seeing what other people enjoyed.”

Potter said she and the businesses have seen the positive impact the campaign has had to get people shopping locally.

“I love the positivity of it, of community pride during a time when things can be pretty divisive,” she said.

It evolved beyond just the business side, giving ideas on how to enjoy a COVID-era summer and reminding people that we’re all in this together.

“Nobody wants to take away somebody else’s freedom, but these are all businesses with teenagers working in them, or somebody’s mom working in them, “ Christiansen said. “Hopefully this helped people take a step back and remind people it's a local community, these are local businesses and everybody is just trying to do the best they can.”

The new tourism focus is about taking the same approach and pushing it out to other communities to increase tourism numbers, Christiansen said.

“Even in a COVID-era, we need people visiting,” she said.

Local businesses relying on not just local support, but having people come into town.

“Our local businesses are coming up with such unique ideas of how to enjoy themselves that this is a great time to prompt Hudson and have some fun and still be within the new normal,” Christiansen said.