Concord turns to local deal site to drum up business

July 18, 2011 8:13:34 PM PDT
Hard hit during this down economy, one city in the East Bay is looking for new ways to drum up business. Concord is using the Internet to convince locals to shop close to home.

The city of Concord has cooked up a new way to bring local customers in the door. It's a website called Try It Local. The idea involves offering deep discounts to customers who buy pre-paid vouchers online for everything from a meal at a local restaurant to merchandise at area retail stores.

"These are offers for a certain length of time," said Marilyn Fowler with the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce. "Try It Local offers are for 48 hours. After that time, anyone who buys the deal will get an email with a coupon."

"That's where the future is now," said Ernie Guerrero, owner of La Tapatia on Willow Pass Road. His offering is for $30 worth of food for the purchase of a $15 voucher.

"We track all our advertisements and we will see the return on how we do," he said. "If it's one extra person, it's a success."

Each deal is available for two days. Once that period ends, the customers who purchased a voucher can download it. Like all Bay Area cities, Concord business owners have struggled in the rough economy.

"Marketing profession photography is kind of difficult," said Dirk Wentling, owner of Wentling Photography. The family-owned store has stayed in business for more than 65 years, largely by reinventing itself to keep up with an ever-changing industry.

Wentling says turning to the Internet to attract new business is a logical next step.

"There's lots of different marketing type coupons out there -- Living Social, Groupon ? a lot of them like to use it where you have multiple locations. We only have the one location. We're pretty centralized right here, so we thought we'd give it a try," said Wentling.

The Concord website will feature one new deal every Monday. The Chamber of Commerce is marketing it on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.


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