By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special To AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Though she calls it “Small Talk With Jill,” it could become anything but little.
“I know a lot of incredible businesses, and I asked myself, ‘What can I do to help them?’” said Jill Morgan-Meek, owner of Transitions Consignment Boutique, 6 Dietz St.
Morgan-Meek, who took over the store from Cindy Staffin in 2014, has launched “Small Talk With Jill,” a weekly video series that highlights local business and cultural entities by inviting the owners to sit down with her – over Zoom, for now – and tell customers and potential customers what they have to offer.
“It’s been in the back of my mind for several years,” she said. “I want people to meet our shop owners.”
A native of Alden, Morgan-Meek moved to Oneonta from Rochester in 2013, when her husband Phillip took a job at Ioxus.
So far, she’s interviewed Underground Attic’s Elizabeth Raphaelson, Eighth Note’s Ruth and Fred Cleveland, the Scanlon Team, part of Oneonta Realty, and the Artisan’s Guild’s Deborah Blake.
Jill, who’s related to the Peet family, early Oneonta settlers, has gone beyond stores to cultural and religious institutions, including the Greater Oneonta Historical Society and the Milford United Methodist Church.
“In talking with Pastor Sylvia, I asked her for one word that inspires her, and she said ‘resilience,’” Morgan-Meek said. “I was so struck by that. Because resilience is more than hope. It says that we will get through this.”
“Small Talk” was inspired by “Follow Me Friday,” based in New York City and posted on talkradio.nyc. It’s hosted by social media personalities Joan Pelzer and Priya Nembhard, who highlight their favorite small businesses across the city and frequently invite Morgan-Meek as a guest. (In a recent show, she touted The Otesaga and other of her favorite dining spots.)
“It was allowing me to have this great platform to tell people in New York City about everything we have up here,” Jill said. “I thought, with so many people in the city who have second homes up here, I could be that ambassador for all our businesses.”
And with the loss college students and the prospective loss of much of this summer’s tourism, Morgan-Meek sees “Small Talk With Jill” as a way to attract business to stores’ online portals, or to bookmark a visit for when the city re-opens.
“People learn about us through tourism,” she said. “But now if they can’t come, we need another way to reach out and let people know that we are here and we are open for business.”
Because of social distancing, she conducts and edits the interviews from a home studio and releases them every on YouTube. “That way, the business can link to it from their page,” she said.
The show is also promoted through her Instagram and SupportOneonta.com
The temporary closure of her Dietz Street storefront has also given her a chance to improve her own online store. “I didn’t focus on it as much as I should have,” she said.
One of the items she recently put in her online shop is a pair of high-couture floral Daniel Storto gloves, made by the founder of The Glove Museum in Dorloo. “Maybe gloves will finally come back in fashion!”