Open just under 5 months, Jeff Blevins is already up against some big odds. His coffee at his new Takoda Coffeehouse may be better, but he knows how people are, and why they buy the brands they do: familiarity. As he told us, "It's frustrating. Sometimes I think to run a successful business would be if Walmart offered franchises."
Sitting at one of Jeff's tables, Reno entrepreneur Dave Asher shows off his digital solution. Scrolling through the long list on his app, he told us, "You can find who's locally owned, depending on what it is you're looking for." This new app answers the question, how do you find the locally owned businesses that have what you want to buy? Dave Asher has taken 'buy local" to your smartphone.
A Reno cheerleader with a mix of Steve Jobs, Dave began his list on a website. He found 2,500 independents for every category a shopper needs. He clicked car repair as an example and showed us a long list of independents…and only locally-owned, for very good reason. As Dave puts it, "We had this building boom and all these strip malls and all these chain stores came in, and we just thought it was great to have all this construction. We're closing down the moms and pops that really are the backbone and identity of the community."
Yes, the Walmarts and other chains hire too. But the real impact of buying local is something you don't see. Asher told us, "At chains, everything is trucked in. Every bite of food you eat at a chain store came from over the hill. When you go to a local restaurant, they bought their goods and supplies from others who are local."
Jeff, for example, buys his pastries, spices, extracts, soups and dairy from other locals. He and Dave know that if this ‘buy local' war is going to be won, it…like everything else, has to be done digitally. As Jeff put it, "everything has to be accessible through the mobile phone. That's where people are out, where the spontaneity happens, where they're going to shop, what they're going to do."
Dave says Reno is just the beginning…he plans to expand the local app idea to other Nevada cities and towns. The "Buy Local" app is free and available for all Iphones, Andriods and Blackberries. Just search your app store for "Buy Local Reno." As for the website, we have a link here for you:
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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