Jill Morgan-Meek looked at Oneonta and Otsego County and saw one thing missing in the area's media landscape.
"It was easy to get on the phone when you needed media with Oneonta," said Morgan-Meek, who moved to the area seven years ago from Rochester, where she worked in several marketing jobs. "We have newspapers and we have radio stations, but what we didn't have was a television station. The nearest television station is over an hour away."
In October 2017, Morgan-Meek bought Transitions Boutique, a Dietz Street consignment business that had been in the city for a decade.
"You know, as a business, you need all of those forms of media to reach people," she said.
This year, Morgan-Meek launched an digital video interview segment, Small Talk with Jill, in which she interviews local business owners to help them find a larger audience in the city, county and region.
"It started before the pandemic, actually," Morgan-Meek said. "When COVID-19 came about, I thought maybe I can help small businesses.
"I always though it was the missing piece here," she continued. "Who's telling these stories visually?"
Morgan-Meek said she has tried to up her skills as she goes along, including recently working on her editing skills. She maintains her platform across the social media spectrum, sharing her segments on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Morgan-Meek also joined Oneonta's Survive and Thrive task force, as the co-chair of the Marketing Committee. There she has channeled her media passion to a project that includes a cross-section of the city's leaders, who are all trying to shield local budgets and businesses from the worst effects of the pandemic.
Morgan-Meek has made 16 videos so far, she said, with everything since the pandemic being done via Zoom.
Although most of the segments highlight Oneonta area businesses, the idea went viral for Morgan-Meek. Recently, she has made segments about businesses in Canada and Nebraska. She also got an invite to appear on a New York City platform similar to hers, Follow Me Friday with Joan and Priya.
Morgan-Meek said that even on the New York City platform, she tells the viewers about Oneonta and Otsego County.
"They want to hear New York stories, because they live in New York, too," Morgan-Meek said. "They want to hear about New York stories. There's a lot of great stories. There's a lot of good things out there. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to show the gems.
"I can tell you, like when you're not from here, you sort of look around at everything here like it is magic," she continued. "We're like this hidden gem, but no one knows but the locals."
Morgan-Meek said the response to her segments has been overwhelming, especially from the business owners who have had success getting their products to customers.
"It is almost grieving to hear their gratitude, because I know how badly this pandemic has hurt businesses," she said. "And it's like, I am not doing it for the thank yous. I am doing it for the stories. I want to hear their stories. I want to hear about their businesses."
In her own business, Morgan-Meek said, she feels she's revamped her store, including moving it one door down from its previous location, from 4 to 6 Dietz St. She said she's embraced the consignment aspect while changing the clothing to her own style.
"It is unique, eclectic, stylish," she said. "I like to think we have things someone would cherish. It's not just a T-shirt. It's not just a blouse. It is something a person wouldn't find when you walk into a department store."
To see Morgan-Meek's segments, look for Small Talk with Jill on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. Or go to supportoneonta.com/survive-then-thrive/ for Oneonta's pandemic recovery information.