Combining their entrepreneurial spirits with a deep passion for their local communities, Shane Linder, Scott Kalapos and Joe Thibeault have embarked on a mission to promote small businesses and give back to local communities by creating a one stop website. This site will connect businesses and customers by providing honest reviews and meaningful concise, background information all in one place.
With a mantra of “Live, Give and Shop Local,” these three young businessmen, who have been working on their enterprising idea since 2010, have backgrounds in business management, marketing and computer science.
Finally, after a sufficient amount of blood, sweat and tears, the trio is just days away from officially launching their premier website, www.simplylocalct.com.
“Our goal is to help promote small businesses to locals and tourists, so people become more aware of all the special places these small towns have to offer,” explains 23 year-old Thibeault, who grew up in New London and loves all Connecticut has to offer.
“We are tired of seeing the de-personalization of the big box stores and we want to help out the small business and hopefully get people to give them a second look,” adds 28 year-old, Deep River native Kalapos.
“We are working hard to expose all the local gems we have here in Connecticut,” says 26 year-old Linder, who also grew up in Deep River.
Kalapos and Linder, who graduated from Valley Regional High School in Deep River, are saddened by the fact that many of their schoolmates have fled Connecticut.
“We have a gorgeous, unique identity here in Connecticut, packed with great memories from all the small businesses we grew up with and it’s sad to see people leave here the first chance they get,” said Kalapos. “We are hoping to change that.”
“We want to help make local businesses thrive, be rediscovered and gain local support,” adds Linder. “Every small step makes a difference and has an impact on the whole community, putting dollars back into the community, creating jobs, recirculating funds and expanding community development.”
To date, approximately 100 local businesses are on board to be part of the website. They include local favorites like the Whistle Stop Café in Deep River, Anchor and Compass in Deep River, The Griswold Inn in Essex, Atlantic Seafood in Old Saybrook, The Local Beet in Chester, Fiddleheads Co-op in New London, Perk on Main in Durham and several others.
The site will give a description of these businesses and reviews. Some will also feature short videos of the business, along with additional information about the establishment’s background and unique story.
“We hope to become like the yellow pages with a personality,” explains Kalapos.
Linder adds, “We want to be the hub for local businesses to tell their stories and help people connect.”
Currently, the website is gaining traction and will be expanding in the future to include advertisements and a variety of levels of exposure for each business.
To date, the three have only one employee, Greg Novak, who does the videography work. Hopes are that the website takes off and they will need to add an army of employees and street teams soon.
The official launch date of the site is slated for July 31 with an additional Facebook presence.
“We are all very excited about this endeavor,” says Thibeault.
“We are all from Connecticut and care about our local communities and the economy of the state. We are here to help businesses and communities and we look forward to what the future holds for our company.”