In our Instagram journey, we have gotten to know and connect with so many incredible accounts within our community. We are excited to start this new series where we feature some of our favorite creators and the story behind their accounts. Be sure to give them a follow for really amazing content!!
In our second installation of this series, we sat down to chat with Ashley Bates of @GainesvilleNow ! I have loved following her journey and seeing all the things happening now in Gainesville. Following a similar model to GAFollowers or ATLScoop, I was so excited to have something similar in our area! This is why I was so excited to interview Ashley and get to know her story a little better.
Have you always lived in Gainesville?
As of Labor Day weekend 2022, I have lived in Gainesville for 20 years! I was born in Gainesville and moved to Orlando when I was 2. After graduating from the University of Central Florida I moved to Gainesville and soon after began writing for the local newspaper, where I worked for nine years and then began my own social media consulting business in 2012.
Why did you start @GainesvilleNow ?
A friend of mine (Bryant Roland) wanted to have a platform where people in Gainesville could go to find out about the best and most fun spots for food, drink and music. He encouraged me to use my social media skills to create GainesvilleNow and he would be on the business side of the venture. Sadly, while GainesvilleNow was getting started and building an audience, Bryant passed away due to COVID. During that time, I thought it would be best to honor Bryant’s memory by fulfilling our plans and creating the best content I can for our community.
What is your go to spot for Mexican in the area?
!’m going to say two of my favorites, El Tepache Tex Max is my family’s favorite currently, Salvador (the owner) is one of the best people I’ve met in Gainesville, he is so friendly and has a heart of gold. Also, Consuelo on the square is amazing and perfect for a date night or girls night out. The owners Pepe and Abigail are such great supporters of our community and their elevated Authentic Mexican cuisine is to die for!
What has been the most difficult part about being a creator?
I’m not sure if this is necessarily difficult in our line of work, but social media platforms literally change daily and keeping up with the daily changes sometimes has its challenges but that’s what I love about social media: everyday is different and exciting.
Who has shaped your journey with @GainesvilleNow the most?
The engagement and excitement of my followers and the amazing things happening with food, drink and entertainment in the City of Gainesville.
What is one thing you love to do in your free time?
I have a son that is my world and also a sports fanatic, so we live for sports, fishing and beach trips when not in school or working.
So far who have you met through the platform that has surprised you the most?
That is a wonderful question because this platform has opened so many doors and introductions to new friends that I wouldn’t have had before.
What is your goal for the next 6 months? Next year?
My goal for 2023 is 5,000 Instagram followers and to continue to build meaningful relationships with my followers and supporters.