Great Buy-Local Tools You May Not Know About

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The buy-local movement continues to grow, and that’s good news for small businesses. Cashing in on this trend, however, is more complex than simply being a local retailer. Here’s a list of (mostly free) tools that will lead customers straight to your door.

Constant Contact’s SaveLocal
For businesses burned out on coupon deals that are more costly than beneficial, SaveLocal provides a low-price alternative. Retailers design their own deal by detailing how much the coupon will be worth, who can receive the offer and how many deals are for sale. The garden center’s customer base gets the featured deal and those who share it with others through their social networks earn an extra benefit. SaveLocal charges $1 to $3 (depending on the deal’s value) for each coupon sold, and the remaining profit stays with the small business. To find out more, visit ConstantContact.com/SaveLocal.

The 3/50 Project’s LookLocal App
Become one of the 3/50 Project’s more than 23,000 mom-and-pop businesses by registering your garden center with the organization at The350Project.net. All registered businesses are included in the website and mobile database free of charge. Potential customers find local businesses by searching with location. An upgrade is also available for retailers that desire greater visibility in their company profiles. An Enhanced Listing includes social media and website links and photographs.

IndependentWeStand.org
Register your independent business on this organization’s website and roll in the free perks. In addition to being easily seen by consumers looking to support their local businesses, you can opt to download promotional and marketing materials, put an Independent We Stand button on your business’ website for greater visibility, send your photos and videos talking about your garden center to be featured and shared on the organization’s YouTube channel and more.

LocalHarvest.org
Geared toward small farmers, farmers markets and those that produce organic, local food sources, the site allows people to register their businesses based on what they sell. When visitors some to the site, they can search nationwide for retailers, to vendors that only ship merchandise or to businesses within 10 to 1,000 miles from a particular zip code. The customer can also search within a number of categories, including fruits, flowers, Christmas wreaths, honey and bee products, seeds, farm and garden and more. Through the online store, these small vendors can improve their reach by selling wares to people outside the local area.

Gardens.com
A list of local resources on this website connects consumers to garden centers and nurseries, Christmas tree farms, garden supplies and products and landscape services based on zip codes. After searching within a category of interest, the visitor sees a list of options from nearest to farthest. A map pinpoints each retailer’s exact location. By clicking on the business’ name, visitors see an address and phone number, as well as the option to visit the company website, send an email or see an events calendar. Some pages even list reviews in a similar format to sites like Yelp.

Karli Petrovic is associate editor of Greenhouse Grower and Today's Garden Center. You can eMail her at kapetrovic@meistermedia.com.
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