LIMA — It took a smartphone and a some snappy moves by Manager George Venturella to grab some traction on social media for Casa Lu Al.
“I’m just trying to put some smiles on people’s faces. That’s been the majority of it,” Venturella said.
Prior to COVID-19, Venturella said Casa Lu Al could provide those smiles when customers came into the Italian restaurant, but with everything shut down, the videos have become a good vehicle for such a service. Since moving his business to takeout only, Venturella has been posting videos every week usually featuring him or other staff dancing or singing to a classic song.
In one such video, Venturella slides into the shot in the style of “Risky Business” as Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” plays in the background. In another, Venturella launches himself to be held by an employee overhead. Fittingly, “The Time of my Life” is used as a backing track.
“It shows the desperate times we’re in. I’m the only one coming out with new content,” Venturella joked.
Casa Lu Al, however, isn’t the only local business taking advantage of social media during quarantine. The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce invited businesses across the community to show their best video efforts in a contest held last week, and many delivered. Chamber Vice President Nicole Scott said 35 business submitted videos.
The votes — clarified as social media likes across platforms — ended up giving Casa Lu Al third place, Burton’s Ridge second and Anytime Fitness first.
In the Burton Ridge video, employees can be seen wearing boxing gloves and tussling with a germ prop representing SARS-CoV-2 to the tune of “Eye of the Tiger.”
Kandee Shook, social media coordinator for HCF Management, said Burton Ridge employees shot the video and came up with idea.
“They wanted to fight COVID,” Shook said. “They’re fighting it and trying to overcome it. At the end, everyone needs to join together to help fight COVID. We’re not doing this alone. They’re doing it as a team with the whole community of Lima.”
Out of the three winners, Anytime Fitness’s video provided the most practical advice. With gyms closed to the public, personal trainers at Anytime Fitness are now doing virtual workouts that former gym-goers can perform at home, and the video highlighted employees’ efforts to stay in touch with their clients and craft personal workout regimens.
Because Anytime Fitness grabbed first place, the Chamber purchased a $100 gift card from the business.
“The purpose of us putting the contest together was because we saw unique businesses doing some unique things through the crisis,” Scott said. “It was pretty interesting. We had a pretty good response, and it was exciting to showcase all those videos.”
Links to the videos can be found at limaohio.com
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.