With competition tight as businesses vie for fewer consumer dollars, any extra help black businesses could get in attracting customers was welcomed. Black businesses have been reaching out to clients via text alerts. A new website called Ujamaa Deals focuses on increasing black product sales online and then there was the debut of a special smartphone app that locates black businesses at your location. And as we reported, The Around The Way app allows users to locate the black-owned businesses in their vicinity, so they can do a little shopping in the community.
“The response to the app has been great. The majority of the comments are from people who want the Android version, which we plan to launch this month,” Janine Hausif, CEO of Around The Way App, tells us. It’s currently only available for the iPhone. “The rest of the comments we’ve gotten have been praise and suggestions. Overall it’s been great. It’s very much like people are helping to shape and mold this app and that’s exactly what we want — for people to make it their own.”
According to Hausif, since the app’s launch in November 2012, they have had over 5,500 downloads. The data bank includes more 17,000 black-owned businesses. It is free for businesses to join.
One of those businesses is Therapy Wine Bar in Brooklyn, NY. For Angela Terry, owner of Therapy, adding her store to the app directory was a no-brainer. “I wanted to get more exposure for my business,” says Terry, who was introduced to the app by Hausif and was one of the first business owners to add her business to the app. “It’s a good idea because as a small business owner we need so many free and affordable outlets to advertise on,” she told us via email.
And, said Terry, she did see a boost in business after joining the app. After shopping, more people stopped into the eatery. “We did see an increase in foot traffic as well as customers talking about the app,” she says.