Did you know that the Brandon area is home to more than 3,000 businesses, most of which are locally-owned and operated 'independent' businesses?
Neither do many people when I introduce them to ShopBrandon.com. Not only do many not know how many businesses there are, they have no idea just how many products and services are available locally without going to a chain store or shopping online with Amazon.
It turns out that pretty much anything I need can be found in my own backyard with some 'digging', but it requires more effort than some people are willing to spend to find out what is available. At the same time, big box stores and online mega stores with more marketing power are capturing customers' purchases and drawing them in and away from the downtown core and local independent businesses.
How It Works
To reverse this trend, I built a local online marketplace and directory that features local businesses and the products and services they offer. The site is accessible from both computers and smart phones via a mobile version.
ShopBrandon.com's community marketplace enables consumers to buy online for in-store pick-up or delivery, read and write business reviews, purchase online gift certificates, view restaurant menus, find out when businesses are open and how they can be paid, as well as contact business owners via email.
As you can imagine, all of these features offer both businesses and consumers tons of value, but the real power of ShopBrandon.com is the offline community marketing campaign that involves hundreds of businesses displaying signs and stickers that remind locals to shop locally at ShopBrandon.com.
By coming together under a common message that also drives people to a web destination where they can take action, ShopBrandon.com harnesses the collective power of the local business community to give independents a voice that's even louder than the big corporate brands that dot the landscape.
Because local independent businesses generally keep more of the money spent with them within the community than corporate chains (45% for independent vs. 15% for chains), shopping with local businesses leads to a stronger local economy.
This benefits everyone in the community as strong local economies provide greater access to opportunities and also more funding for local initiatives like parks and recreation, services and infrastructure, health and education.
By informing local shoppers about the choices available to them, as well as the hidden benefits of shopping locally, ShopBrandon.com aims to influence residents to spend more of their money locally instead of sending their dollars outside of the community where it will benefit someone else's area instead of our own.
Meet the Owner
Ken Dunkley was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba and has always been passionate about supporting local businesses in his community. He lives with his wife Sandra and on the hill with a great view of Brandon.
In October 2016, Ken made the leap to becoming a business owner when he had the opportunity to buy ShopBrandon.com and launch a shop local campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the important of shopping locally, while providing consumers and businesses with tools to connect online.
Ken's true passion has always been promoting other people and telling their stories. Now, he is excited to tell the stories of the businesses that make Brandon an amazing place to live, dine, work and play.
What You Can Do
There are several easy steps you can take to help us build up the community and support local businesses:
- Use ShopBrandon.com as often as possible to learn what's available locally.
- Make informed purchases and consider the total impact of your spending, not just the price you pay.
- Encourage great local business owners to keep going by posting reviews on their profile pages.
- Buy our local gift certificates instead of plastic gift cards from big box stores.
- Frequent locally-owned restaurants instead of the national chains.
I can always use more help spreading the word, and I greatly appreciate those who help convey the message by putting up signs and stickers or linking to ShopBrandon.com online.
Thanks for taking the time to read about ShopBrandon.com. I am passionate about building up Brandon and love to connect with like-minded individuals.
Feel free to use the comments below to let me know about things you're doing to spread the word about shopping locally or to make Brandon a stronger, more vibrant community.