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Website promotes shopping locally for trades firms

November 21st, 2016
[by David Armstrong]

Encouraging Motueka people to use local trade businesses wherever possible is a vital way of strengthening our local economy, says iBuild Motueka administrator Sheryl Riordan (pictured).

The iBuild website (ibuildmotueka.co.nz) has been running for 15 months and now provides choices and connections to 24 trade firms around Motueka, from the Takaka Hill to Mapua and Upper Moutere.

The concept came to builder Tony Riordan after seeing so many vans for Nelson and Richmond firms on the road to and from down south, says Sheryl, his wife.

He approached a number of other trades firms and at a meeting together they formed a collective along with local materials suppliers ITM and Placemakers.

Their aim was to make it easier for Motueka people to find local suppliers, using the website and a highly focused, year-long advertising campaign, mainly on radio.

They set up a bank account and engaged local website designer, Lisa Cahalane of Steps Web Design, to build the site.

The cost for businesses to join the collective and be included in the directory was $300. An annual fee will be contemplated in a few months, once the radio advertising campaign reaches the end of its year.

"The members obviously see an advantage in belonging, and have seen their business picking up, especially at times when promotions have been advertised," says Sheryl.

"Lisa has done the coding work to make sure we come up high on Google searches for trades in Motueka. She has put in extra time for us and helped us with ideas, working above and beyond her original brief."

The iBuild site has profiles and contact information at present for eight builders, three electricians, two plumbers, two material suppliers, two window suppliers and two joiners, as well as pages for painters, designers, flooring, concrete, water, tilers, home decor and landscaping firms.

Lisa Cahalane looks after the technical side and monitors the website's usage.

"Looking at the stats over the last few weeks alone, we have had more than 120 people view the site, with 84% of them being new visits," she says.

"Each one of these browsed through the website looking at on average three to four pages. This I think is showing that the website along with the radio and other advertising is serving its purpose.

"People can log on find the information they are looking for and get in touch with the business, keeping everything or as much as is possible local."

It is this writer's opinion that although much of the effort of the Motueka business community is focussed on building the local economy via the tourist and retail sectors and the "Love Motueka" website, it is also important that attention be paid to promoting the internal service industries and the iBuild website, so that more local money is spent within the town.



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