Shop Local? Yep! Market Local? What? You’re Not!?

What the heck: It’s a two-post sort of day, and this one is long overdue:

Expounding on the idea of shopping local, numerous web sites are springing up that offer local shopping ideas, coupons, information, and the like. The first of these that I was well aware of in my area was, a site provided by one of the local news stations in town, WTVO 17/WQRF 39.

Recently, I was made aware of a second site that not only offers a similar service, it also is headed by a gentleman by the name of J.R. Riley. This site is a national one, but it breaks down residential areas for searching out local businesses, and is found at The thing I appreciate about Mr. Riley is that he truly cares about his community. I’ve watched over the months, since the sites inception, as he’s made local folks aware of social issues in their neighborhoods and genuinely succeeded in doing some good, while many either talk a good game, or – worse – do nothing. But then, he takes it a step further: he attempts to enact social change for it’s own sake. The benefit to him? I’m guessing he goes to sleep at night with a whopping smile on his face and a warm fuzzy feeling at having made a difference. I’m also guessing that this sort of ‘local, vociferous pride’ goes a long way to endearing him to his target audience. With all of it’s ugly faults, Mr. Riley really loves Rockford – warts and all.

So what does the site do, and how can you benefit? Here’s what the site has to say about that:

“1.) Choose a category to classify your business under. If not found, then create one.

2. ) Create a personal profile of your business that links to your website and your FaceBook page.

3. ) The site allows you to receive e-mail communications from potential customers, and you also have the ability to e-mail another business to direct a customer to their site, so that we can keep all buying power within the community.

4. ) Your listing includes a ‘wegotdeals’ page, so that you may list your customized coupons or bargains that you would like displayed on the site, along with access to change them. This will be tracked by promo codes.

5. ) You will have Google Maps attached to your profile to be located alonf with a referral page so that potential customers can send their friends.”

In other words, it’s a compartmentalized, local search engine, of local businesses, assisting one another in retaining local dollars. It’s a great way to cross-pollenate (something that I clearly love, given the fact that the term springs up so often in these posts) It’s also a great way to get in touch with like-minded individuals in your community to do yourself – and your community – some much needed good.

With all of the negatives we hear about Rockford – my hometown, by the way – it’s nice to see that someone, somewhere, is still making an effort to be a voice for change, and local business. Likewise, the Winnebago Buy Local movement, and what I now call the ‘whole Culture Shock (that’s a local store, by the way) phenomena’ are both catalysts for the same ends – positive change in a flagging Rockford job market. There are many others (you know who you are!), that are simply too numerous to list that I respect a great deal for the very same reasons.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take back our town and, instead of being saddened by the negatives, be proud of the positives? Well, we can – one step at a time. So shop local and – more important to your business – market local!


~ by digitalninjasmedia on February 20, 2012.

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