BERWYN – Eight Berwyn businesses are in the spotlight in “WILD Berwyn,” a series of videos produced by WTTW’s “WILD Chicago” Emmy Award-winning host Ben Hollis, which showcases unique local merchants.
The Berwyn Development Corp. organized the series, which highlights different aspects of the businesses in two- to four-minute videos. All eight of the clips are available now on BDC’s YouTube channel, and a different one is shared on BDC’s various social media accounts every week.
In each “WILD Berwyn” video, Hollis interacts with staff, customers and clients to show how each business contributes to the vibrant community in Berwyn.
Amy Crowther, deputy executive director of the BDC, said they had worked with Hollis in the past to produce similar videos, and she wanted to do it again because the videos were an effective marketing tool.
She said eight members of the BDC wanted to be included in the project, which was shot and produced this fall. The participants were City Barbeque, Lavergne’s Tavern, Century 21 Hallmark, Connie’s Family Restaurant and Cocktails, Luiz Ortiz/REMAX, Paisans Pizza and Bar, Women’s Workout World and Berwyn Development Corp.
“The videos give a flavor of what we have to offer in Berwyn and what makes the businesses tick. It’s the owners and staff who make the experience,” Crowther said. “We hope to intrigue people enough to visit a place that maybe they haven’t been to before. Ben’s style is candid, fun and light-hearted.”
Hollis loved working with all the businesses and said he is continually impressed with Berwyn. He said the videos are a very effective way of allowing the owners to share their stories to attract more customers.
“This is about getting into the neighborhoods and showcasing ordinary people who don’t get on TV,” he said. “I wanted to take these videos from pure entertainment to a vehicle for marketing that’s still entertaining. The videos show each business as being fun, attractive places to visit. The audience sees that I’m having a great time interacting with the owner or manager, and people want to be a part of that.”
Jamie Revell, owner of Women’s Workout World, said she and her clients enjoyed having Hollis visit. Revell said she saw the previous set of videos he produced, and she was excited to be a part of this series.
“It turned out really great. He captured the different things we offer,” she said. “He interviewed our members and got live, honest testimonials. He made our gym look good and highlighted how fun our environment is. Sometimes it’s hard to see what goes on inside our walls, but he was able to capture it in a way that was enjoyable to watch.”
Connie’s Restaurant has been a staple in Berwyn for decades, and owner Andy Sotiropoulos said he wanted the video to show his business’s character. Sotiropoulos didn’t tell any of his customers or staff members that Hollis was coming to shoot the video because he wanted genuine, honest reactions.
“Everyone was very surprised, and they said what they felt,” he said. “I loved the video. He showcased what makes us different and what we do. It was overall a great experience and people who’ve seen it appreciate it, and I think we’ve even gotten some new customers.”