‘Greater ROC’ campaign from ROC2025 shows the best of Rochester through ‘champions’ and their stories

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — ROC 2025 is a collaboration between many different institutions in Rochester that aims to revitalize the Greater Rochester economic ecosystem. In part, they look to do this by bringing in outside talent.

It launched in 2019 — and weather through 2020 — and now has launched a new campaign and brand meant to showcase the stories of artists, entrepreneurs, and cornerstones of the Greater Rochester area.

Perhaps needless to say, the campaign is called “Greater ROC.”

“The campaign is about… Reasserting our place and story as a region that is one that is great to locate and grow a business, come to college, start your career, business idea, a great place to live work and play,” said Joe Stefko, President of ROC2025.

But instead of taking the broad economic approach, this campaign looks to showcase individuals who have carved out a place for themselves in the Greater Rochester area.

The brand calls them “champions.”

In a 30-second spot — what they call an “anthem” — household (or at the very least, Twitter-famous personalities) name flash across the screen, from muralist Sarah Rutherford, to public art photographer Quajay Donnell, public artist Shawn Dunwoody, adventurer Aurelion Bouche-Pillon, to the Rochester Red Wings, to the Amerks, Young Lion Brewing owner Jennifer Newman, to some of most recognizable Rochester landmarks.

It’s chock-full of Rochester and the surrounding nine counties.

“For some on the outside looking in, our story is of the region that we were, not the story of the region that we are and the region that we are becoming,” he said.

He hopes that by telling the individual stories of people like Donnell, Greater ROC can composite the tapestry of stories of the 1.2 million people in the area.

“I think it’s important to photograph the beautiful things around us,” said Donnell, as he stood in front of a Rutherford mural.

It was made to tell the stories of four sexual assault survivors, in partnership with Willow Domestic Violence Center and The Truth Collective for Domestic Violence Awareness.

“Public art just happens to be that vehicle for me, to share the beautiful, vivid, colorful, and imaginative walls that are in our community,” he said.

Calling the public art space in Rochester “talented” and “ever-evolving,” Donnell says that it’s just a small part of why the Rochester transplant loves the area.

“I love everything,” he said matter-of-factly.

One of the other champions is Marilla Gonzalez, owner of The Waste Not Shop in Geneva. She was inspired to create the store to do something about the trash heaps that bracket Geneva, and cites that as a dedicated concern of people in her area.

“Our store is dedicated to reducing waste and single-use plastic in our everyday routines, and in everything we sell, including plastic-free alternatives to plastic-packaged personal care, cleaning products and more,” Gonzalez said. “The Rochester region is so much more than just the downtown inner core. Amazing things are happening in places like Geneva.”

ROC2025 and Greater ROC also have a “Guide to Greater” online now.

Stefko also says that Greater ROC is looking for even more input. At this link, Stefko encourages everyone to tell their stories and get involved with the campaign.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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