http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2011/04/15/shop-local-aims-to-boost-pleasanton-business-shopping


Pleasanton Weekly

News - April 15, 2011

'Shop Local' aims to boost Pleasanton business, shopping

Website lists all local businesses, provides coupons, special offers, menus and customer reviews

A new program to connect Pleasanton shoppers with local businesses has been launched at ShopPleasanton.com. The new website -- a directory of nearly all businesses in Pleasanton -- features profiles of companies, special offers and coupons, restaurant menus, photos, maps, event announcements and more.

The program is a collaboration of the Pleasanton Weekly, the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Pleasanton Downtown Association and the city of Pleasanton. Its aim is to raise awareness of the products and services offered by local merchants and their importance to the vitality of the community.

More than 1,000 Pleasanton businesses have already created their ShopPleasanton profiles or posted information in preparation of the launch of the site.

"We are excited to launch what will be the most comprehensive and interactive local business directory available anywhere," said Gina Channell-Allen, publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly.

"While there are many other attempts at business directories out there, none offer either residents or business owners the breadth of features of ShopPleasanton.com," Channell-Allen said. "And none are supported by the marketing reach of the local newspaper and the dominant community website."

With ShopPleasanton.com, any business physically located in Pleasanton can create a free profile, including photos, product offerings, coupons, links to its website, gift certificates and much more. Businesses can promote their special events, create additional web pages and sell merchandise online. Restaurants can upload their menus. A verification process helps to ensure the greatest possible accuracy of the content.

Local residents can search for businesses by name or category, display profiles with maps and contact information, browse special offers of all merchants, buy gift certificates and post comments about individual businesses.

New offers or updates to a business' profile can be quickly spotted through a news feed on the site.

A multimedia marketing campaign will promote ShopPleasanton.com through the Weekly, PleasantonWeekly.com, and Express, the news digest e-mailed to thousands of residents each weekday. The partner organizations will also market the site to their members and the community.

The "shop local" movement is gaining visibility and supporters throughout the nation, as studies have shown that communities benefit more from dollars spent close to home. In addition to keeping sales-tax revenue in the community to support the schools and other programs, 68% of the money spent at a locally owned business remains in the community, compared to only 43% for national chain-store purchases, research has shown.

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