'Shop Local' program launchesMountain View residents will be able to find and discover local businesses, take advantage of coupons and special offers, and post their opinions starting today on ShopMountainView.com, a new website devoted to raising awareness of the products and services offered by local merchants and their importance to the vitality of the community.
New websites will list all local businesses, provide coupons, special offers, menus and customer opinions
The website is a collaboration between the Mountain View Voice, the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, Hometown Peninsula and the City of Mountain View.
Virtually every business in Mountain View is listed on the site and more than 700 have already made updates to their profiles or posted information in preparation of the launch of the site.
"We have been working on this project for more than two years, and are excited to launch what will be the most comprehensive and interactive local business directory available anywhere," according to Tom Gibboney, publisher of the Mountain View Voice.
"While there are many other attempts at business directories out there, none offer either residents or business owners the breadth of features of ShopMountainView.com," Gibboney said. "And none are supported by the marketing reach of the local newspaper and the dominate community website," he said.
A multimedia marketing campaign will promote ShopMountainView.com through the Voice, Mountain View Online and Express, the e-mailed news digest sent to over 5,000 people each day.
ShopMountainView.com allows any business with a physical address in Mountain View to create a free profile, including photos, product offerings, coupons, links to their 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.
A news feed logs all activity on the site so users can quickly spot new offers or new business activity.
In addition to ShopMountainView.com, similar sites are also being launched in Palo Alto (ShopPaloAlto.com) and Menlo Park (ShopMenloPark.com.) Users of any of the sites can choose to include businesses in the other communities in their search for businesses.
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 percent of the money spent at a locally-owned business has been found to remain in the community, compared to only 43 percent for national chain store purchases.