As local business owners both John and I are highly engaged corporate citizens in not only the Town of Pelham but also the City of Welland and Region of Niagara. Recently in my role as Director of the Pelham Business Association I spearheaded a Think Local First marketing campaign in order to promote the economic benefits of shopping locally for goods and services.
The survey results that were obtained during our campaign identified that improved marketing would influence consumers to shop in Pelham more often. In particular, our Association recognized the importance of improving local shopper’s knowledge of local business and service offerings and increasing the awareness of local sales, promotions and specials.
Thus began my extensive investigation of the feasibility of implementing a community portal website concept to service this critical small business marketing gap. The Pelham Business Association had limited resources to finance a custom designed solution so I decided to look into third party template products that could offer both a cost-effective, direct member input environment and fully searchable and enhanced directory features.
When I first encountered the owners of Nabernet I considered myself extremely fortunate to have discovered such amazingly talented software developers who shared my same prospective on community development and “low and behold” had already put the sweat equity into creating the fully integrated content sharing network that I had envisioned.
Being a true entrepreneur I recruited local web designer, Melissa Wells of Ex Nihilo Web Designs to participate with me in my research process. Subsequently Melissa became my joint venture partner when we made the decision to launch the MyPelham.com utilizing Nabernet’s Bridgelin software platform. We are now delivering a highly effective community portal that meets (and exceeds) our initial objectives at a fraction of the cost of publicly funded alternatives.
I believe that our business model is also particularly well suited to meeting the needs of Business Improvement Area organizations. When I present our approach to potential advertisers I describe it as a “business co-operative”web portal solution that cost-effectively utilizes social media marketing techniques to the exponential benefit of all participants.
I am looking forward to sharing more of my Nabernet insights as a participant at the upcoming Ontario BIA Conference to be held April 18,19 and 20th at the at the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel and Convention Centre here in our beautiful hometown region of Niagara.