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Shop Local: Queen Creek, Ariz. Municipal Website Rules
"Shop QC" Keeps Dollars in Town During Holidays and Year 'Round
In Queen Creek, Ariz. (www.queencreek.org) local business owners are treated like royalty. Just ask Rachel Broughten, Chef-Owner of Rachel's Bake Shop who credits the town’s “Shop QC” program and municipal website, developed by the government website experts at Vision Internet, with helping her launch and grow her business into one of the area’s Top 10 Best Dessert Spots in 2013.
Founded in 2009, Rachel’s Bake Shop also was named Queen Creek’s Emerging Business of the Year in 2014. “The Shop QC program is awesome and the town’s website is the go-to resource for local businesspeople,” Broughten said. “As the mom of two young boys, I frequently work on my business during off hours. It was 2 a.m. when I started the research needed to launch my business and I found everything I needed regarding licenses and permits on the Queen Creek website. The information was easy to find and the process for starting a food-based business was outlined in layman’s terms that I could easily understand.”
Jen Snyder, the town’s digital media specialist, said Queen Creek is proud to be a “shop local” community. “Shop QC is an important part of our local economic development program,” she said. “New businesses can register using a simple form on our website, which automatically posts them in our online directory of more than 100 local businesses. In addition to the listing, Shop QC members receive promotional support on the town’s social media channels and access to a variety of marketing and promotional opportunities available via partner and town-sponsored events and programs.”
With the holidays just around the corner, town officials are gearing up for a number of key events, including:
- A "drop and shop" event, during which parents can drop children off at the Recreation Annex for fun and games while they shop in Old Town.
- Small Business Saturday on November 29. Local businesses already are posting a variety of special discounts and promotions on the town website.
- The annual holiday festival, parade and tree lighting, scheduled for December 6 and sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club.
- "Shop QC for the Holidays" photo contest in which residents take "selfies" with paper cut-outs of the town's mascots placed at local shops and restaurants and post them on the town website and social media.
“The website is the primary portal to the town and a one-stop shop for local business owners looking for promotional support,” said Queen Creek Public Information and Chief Marketing Officer Marnie Schubert. “We converted our website to Vision Internet in 2007 because the town was growing quickly. We upgraded to their latest content management system in 2013, and have been impressed with the site's flexibility, ease of use and increased level of interaction on the front end. As the Town continues to grow, so does the quality and quantity of information available to citizens and local businesses on our website.”
Queen Creek’s Facebook page, prominently featured along with other social media channels on the website homepage, is one of the most effective tools for promoting local businesses.
“We have just over 30,000 residents and more than 6,000 of them “Like” us on Facebook,” Snyder said. “Recent news about an In-N-Out Burger coming to town reached more than 31,000 people and received over 3,000 likes, comments and shares. A series of posts on the groundbreaking ceremony for Harkins Theartres reached an audience of 50,000 and generated over 2,000 likes, comments and shares. Social media definitely is our most effective communications tool and it all starts with our website.”
Broughten, at Rachel’s Bake Shop, wholeheartedly agrees. “I know for a fact that every time the Town shares one of our Facebook posts or retweets one of our promotions, two or three new faces walk through our door. Customer acquisition is one of a business owner’s biggest costs and the exposure we get through the town website and social media channels is a big cost savings for my business.”