"Keep Local Alive" boosts business for struggling restaurant

Rocco's Little Chi
Posted at 6:21 AM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 08:21:58-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — While Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria has been loved by the Tucson community since 1998, the COVID-19 pandemic hit them hard.

"Our sales have gone down significantly. We can't rely on our daytime business because all the offices have been closed for a year now," said Rocco Digrazia, Owner of Rocco's Little Chicago Pizzeria.
The pandemic and ongoing construction along East Broadway Boulevard have caused sales to plummet nearly 30%, according to Digrazia.

"People just aren't thinking about casual dining like they did before," said Digrazia.

Recently, Rocco's caught the attention of a group called Keep Local Alive.

"What's amazing about the movement is that we're taking the idea of supporting local from words to actions," said Bobby Johnson, Co-Founder of Keep Local Alive.

That is what the group did for Rocco's. After connecting hundreds of supporters through social media, Keep Local Alive boosted Rocco's sales by 25% in just a few days.

"In Tucson local businesses are the heart. We really want our local businesses to do well financially and to stay afloat. We don't want businesses going under," said Marla Handler, member of the Keep Local Alive "Boost Crew."

Keep Local Alive is encouraging Tucsonans to put $20 towards a local business every week. If done, Johnson said this would generate over $460,000,000 for Tucson's economy every year.

"I'm happy it happened. Hopefully we get some new customers out of it that last and we'll see them in a couple weeks," said Digrazia.