About four years ago, Diana DeJesus moved to Boise and started an Instagram account called Boise Bucket List to document her life in a new city. The goal was to motivate herself to get out and learn more about the area. Now, the account and brand have grown to reach nearly 60,000 followers and are a resource for locals and visitors alike, who look to it for fun guides to the Treasure Valley.
From food trucks to balloon vendors, Boise Bucket List covers it all. DeJesus also uses the account to highlight local businesses and has become an especially mobilizing voice during a time of both economic turmoil and the Black Lives Matter movement.
In the summer of 2020 she worked with local advocates to promote list of Black-owned businesses. DeJesus said part of the reason she has continued to run the account is because she really believes in the power of the community rallying around local businesses. She said she witnessed the power of this in the spring as residents of the Treasure Valley came together to raise enough money to keep a local food truck from going out of business.
The food truck, Brown Shuga Soul Food, was going under due to financial hardships brought on by COVID-19 and ensuing shutdowns. According to DeJesus, the truck was in need of repairs and the owner could not afford them until people stepped in to help out.
“It’s very powerful, this community rallying behind all business owners,” DeJesus said. “It’s exciting to see.”
Boise Bucket List’s advocacy for Black-owned businesses—and locally-owned businesses in general—is truly commendable.
“It’s exciting to see community members just want to know their fellow business owners—regardless if they’re Black or white or persons of color,” DeJesus said. “But I still love the excitement behind it and just being excited about local businesses, that’s really what that is.”
This emphasis of getting out, finding new places and businesses to enjoy is a very “Boise” thing to do, which is probably why so many people have taken notice and followed Boise Bucket List on Instagram. The social media traction has even allowed DeJesus to start getting paid for promoting the local businesses.
That being said, unlike many “influencers” on Instagram, DeJesus doesn’t stop at posting for-profit messages for people who reach out to her. On her blog, boisebucketlist.com, DeJesus has created multiple digital guide books for people to download and check out; most of them are even free. The guide books cover a variety of topics like burgers, breweries, annual events and a three-day itinerary plan for visitors—or residents wanting to play tourist. Food fanatics can even access DeJesus’ “Food Truckin’ in the BOI” guide for $5.
Boise Bucket List is the perfect resource for long-time residents to discover new businesses and recent relocators to learn about tried-and-true local favorites. All in all, if Boise residents want to get to know their hometown and the surrounding area better, following some of DeJesus’ recommendations is the way to do it.