Did You Know?The Orillia area is home to more than 3,000 businesses, most of which are locally-owned and operated 'independent' businesses?
Neither did we when we first started ShopOrillia.com back in May of 2001. At the time, we guessed that there might be 400 businesses in the area. Wow, were we ever wrong.
Not only did we not know how many businesses there were, we had no idea just how many products and services were available locally that we had been driving to other communities to purchase.
It turned out that pretty much anything we needed could be found in our own backyard with some 'digging', but it required more effort than most people were willing to spend to find out what was available.
At the same time, big box stores and online mega stores with more marketing power were capturing customers' purchases and drawing them in and away from the downtown core and local independent businesses.
How It Works
To reverse this trend, we 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.
ShopOrillia.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 the 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 ShopOrillia.com is the offline community marketing campaign that involves hundreds of businesses displaying signs and stickers that remind locals to shop locally at ShopOrillia.com.
By coming together under a common message that also drives people to a web destination where they can take action, ShopOrillia.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, ShopOrillia.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.
About Lynn Martin, Regional Manager, ShopOrillia.com
Lynn Martin is a passionate advocate for local businesses. You can find her at the farmers' market, downtown at a local restaurant, or out and about at area events.
Lynn is always smiling, and with positive comments about all the great people she knows in town.
Prior to managing ShopOrillia.com, Lynn worked as a marketing consultant for a number of local publications.
Seeing a need for a cost-effective way for local businesses to promote themselves online, Lynn came across the ShopCity.com platform and fell in love with the idea of helping people shop locally and doing good things in the community.
What You Can Do
There are several easy steps you can take to help us build up the community and support local businesses:
Use ShopOrillia.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.
We can always use more help spreading the word, and we greatly appreciate those who help convey the message by putting up signs and stickers or linking to us online.
Thanks for taking the time to read about ShopOrillia.com. We are passionate about building up Orillia and love to connect with like-minded individuals.
Feel free to use the comments below to let us know about things you're doing to spread the word about shopping locally or to make Orillia a stronger, more vibrant community.