Buy Local Program gets its web design from Ohio company
The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is launching an innovative “Save Local Now” website and smart phone app today as part of its Buy Local Program.
Ironically, though, that website and app weren’t developed locally.
The site the chamber is using was developed by an Ohio website design company that does similar websites for chambers of commerce across the nation.
Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the chamber, said it was a “no-brainer” in contracting with the Ohio company because of what it costs — a $2,000 flat rate for unlimited use — and what it offers chamber members and Grand Valley consumers.
“We vetted this in front of two of our committees, both of which had people in web design that were reviewing the service,” Schwenke said. “They said, ‘This is a great thing, we can’t do it for this price.’ We had web designers in the room helping us make this decision.”
Still, at least one local web designer in town saw the irony of a so-called buy local chamber program that wasn’t buying local.
Dan Ryan, founder of Ryan/Sawyer Marketing, 652 White Ave., said his firm is considering bidding on an RFP (request for proposals) put out by the chamber last week to redesign the chamber’s website, http://www.gjchamber.org.
“This town has a lot of very capable web developers in it,” Ryan said. “I don’t recall receiving any RFPs on that, but surely it’s ironic that’s being developed by an out-of-town company.”
Still, Ryan said his firm has been a chamber member since 1990, and plans to continue to do so, saying there is value in being a member.
Schwenke said one of the side benefits of using the Ohio website, at least for local consumers, is that they will be able to access the same site while in several other communities across the nation when they are vacationing there.
The only problem with that, though, is it isn’t universal. Most of those communities are located in Ohio and Connecticut. No other chamber in Colorado is part of the network.
Trisha Martinez, membership and marketing director for the chamber, said the new site is quite interactive, allowing consumers to access special deals being offered by local chamber members.
At the same time, it allows those chamber businesses a new, and free, way to promote themselves to consumers.
“It’s very cool,” Martinez said. “It gives them a lot of marketing platforms that a lot of small businesses can’t afford.”
The app, which works on iPhones and Android phones, can be downloaded through The App Store or Google Play.