Tag Archives: relylocal

10 Reasons to RelyLocal

1. Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.

2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.

3. Local Decision-Making
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.

5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.

6. Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.

7. Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.

8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.

9. Competition
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.


This list comes from Stacy Mitchell, a senior researcher with the New Rules Project (www.newrules.org), a national nonprofit initiative that advises communities on strategies and policies to strengthen independent businesses.


RelyLocal Community Campaign Revealed

By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com
This blog entry introduces a feature I will present over the next few days to reveal information about a RelyLocal Community Campaign we are working on. A Community Campaign is something RelyLocal does which matches a locally owned business with a charitable organization or non-profit agency.

About a month ago, I learned of an organization called “Kids Come First.” I took the opportunity to  interview the two individuals who have spearheaded the creation of this charitable organization – (Andrew Calkins and Jennifer Dahl.)  In an effort to collect used clothing for families in need (especially children’s clothing and outerwear), Andrew and Jennifer placed their request on Eau Claire Freecycle  (Eau Claire Freecycle is a Yahoo Forum) indicating they were available to pick up used clothing that people had to donate in which could benefit other families.

Andrew and Jennifer’s request on Freecycle created an influx of people who were in the giving spirit, and they found themselves running around at various times during the day to pick up clothing and other items  being given away by those on FreeCycle. When I met Andrew, I suggested pairing their effort up with locally owned businesses who could serve as Drop Off donation points to collect the donations.

Over the next few days I would like to feature more information on “Kids Come First” as an organization as well as the local businesses who have agreed to help by becoming a drop off points for donations.

Today, I would like to feature Pam Kelly, owner of Pam’s Quick Wash & Dry Cleaning in Chippewa Falls. We pick up the story from Jennifer Dahl who administrates “Kids Come First.”

According to Jennifer…
“I ended up meeting Pam through a process where I had an envision of starting up a Children’s Charity to supply winter apparel to kids who are not fortunate enough to have the items they so desperately need in our Wisconsin weather.  When Craig Campana of RelyLocal learned of my Charity, ‘Kids Come First,’ he generously got involved and helped to spread the word, FAST!!  Donations began to pour in for the Charity and we were unable to keep up with washing and drying all of the donations in our home washer and dryer.  My boyfriend, Andrew Calkins, spoke with Pam at her local Quick Wash about donating the wash and dry time we needed to wash and dry all of the items we were receiving.  Pam didn’t even hesitate!  We’ve utilized her services several times over the past couple of months and every time we enter her facility, she hands us a big cup full of quarters to start with and empties quarters out of machines to supply us with more if we run out.  She’s always cheerful, upbeat and more than willing to go the extra mile to help us out.

Pam has also stepped up by allowing us to utilize her facility as a drop off point for donations.  We cannot thank Pam enough for her generosity and what she is contributing to the community.

If you have used clothing to drop off in the Chippewa Falls area, please stop at Pam’s Quick Wash & Dry Cleaning located at 17 W. Willow St.  and drop the items in the donation box.  Pam’s business is open 24 hours with Wi-Fi availability.  Attended hours are from 9:00am – 4:00pm Monday – Friday.  She offers free coffee during attended hours and has a “10th Wash Free” program.  I encourage you to stop in and utilize her service as she’s such a wonderful person/local business owner with great services to offer.  Feel free to call Pam  with any questions regarding her company at: (715) 723-0582.”

13 Hot Tips for Effective PR

By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

The value of Public Relations or PR is tremendous with regard to gaining recognition and visibility in the community. RelyLocal serves as a community advocate for our clients by generating Word-of-Mouse marketing through PR. Our clients signal to us when these activities occur in their business and we respond by generating press releases that are circulated in the local media to gain recognition for our client’s business.

Following are 13 reasons companies should consider engaging with the media. How many of these apply to your business? Let RelyLocal help your company gain the recognition it deserves through PR.

Reasons for generating press releases making the following announcements:
 Changes made in your company’s physical location or company expansion
 Opening of a new division, or announcing the release of a new product or service
 Promoting the opening of a new website
 New newsletters or blogs being developed
 Adding of new staff members, or announcing recent promotions of existing staff members.
(Adding a photo of a new staff member and noting their previous employer can connect your company to your new staff member’s former clients, colleagues or co-workers.)
 Continuing Education workshops attended or Re-certification of company staff members
 Tradeshows you have attended, or are exhibiting in
 Presentations or workshops you are offering
 Significant Anniversaries, Special Events, Open Houses, or Client Appreciation Days
your company is featuring or inviting people to
 Awards and honors your company has received
 Affiliations or membership organizations your company has joined
 Announcements of significant contracts acquired
 Noting trends affecting your industry that may be worthy of a full scale article

Do you know of locally owned companies that need assistance in generating effective
PR for their company?

A good referral we are seeking is a locally-owned company that has one or more of these reasons for creating press releases. RelyLocal – Chippewa Valley would like to put a plan in action for them to get the recognition they deserve in the media.

Business Owner Feature – John Effertz, ATS Service Center

By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Entry Date: August 13, 2010

I am pleased to feature John Effertz, owner of ATS Service Center as my first featured business for this blog. I had the opportunity to meet with John several times this week, both as a consumer and as a blog author.

I started my week this week by taking my minivan in for an oil change at ATS. This was the first time I had my van serviced at John’s new facility, so I was curious about the events that led up to John moving into his new facility, so I asked John to fill me in on a bit of his career path and what led to the move.

John started his career with 2 years at WITC Tech school in Rice Lake. Following graduation in 1986 his first job was working as a mechanic for a service shop in Minnesota. From there he moved to a Dodge/Oldsmobile dealership and worked 2 years there. In 1991 he moved to the Chippewa Valley. He was really drawn to the area by the vast opportunities available here, the small town feel, and friendly people. He enjoyed doing the many activities available in the area, but also felt an asset to moving here was the amount of medical resources available locally.

After his move here, he worked at the Ford dealership for 15 years. In 2003 the entrepreneur in John was revealed when he decided to open ATS Service Center. His location on East Clairemont started as a 3 bay shop. Eventually John had the opportunity to acquire 5 additional bays at a garage next to his service center had gone out of business.

John’s goals in starting his business were to help people keep their vehicles running properly, and to offer the most cost-effective way to provide durability in his auto repairs. He hoped that the customers would find value in his service and come back for other services again and again, which they did! His business grew very well, however he began to outgrow the location, and the parking lot for waiting vehicles, so he began looking into expanding his operation by building a service center on the west side of Eau Claire.

He and his 7 staff members were excited to open their new facility in February 2010. ATS now offers 8 service bays, with a comfortable customer lounge featuring a kids zone to keep children occupied. John features a beverage bar for patrons to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, chai teas, flavored water, and even has free wireless, so customers can bring their laptops and work while they wait.

For those who cannot wait for their auto repairs, ATS provides a courtesy shuttle that will take the customer to work or home until the repair is completed and pick them up again to return. Having utilized that service several times, I found John’s shuttle drivers to be very friendly and they seem to really enjoy providing the great customer service they do!

ATS just employed a new service that provides an email follow-up reminder system, that will send out a notice (email and text)to customers to remind them of their upcoming appointment with ATS. Another feature of this system gives patrons and opportunity to provide an evaluation of their ATS experience.

Several endorsements John shared with me from recent customers sum up the service that John provides to the Chippewa Valley communities.

“ATS provided excellent customer service, quality repairs done on time. ATS, a superb experience – they took the stress out of car repair. We will definitely use them for all our future auto repair needs.”

“Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Very neat and clean waiting room. Prices are competitive and fair.”

When I asked John if he has accomplished the goals he set out for in creating a great auto servicing experience, he indicated he has a great deal of pride that his goals have been achieved.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit ATS for your auto servicing, consider John’s fair, honest and dependable service, and stop in to see what they can do for you.

Check out his website at: http://www.atsservicecenter.com and his link on RelyLocal: http://www.relylocal.com/wisconsin/eauclaire/ats-service-center

Daily Word-of-Mouse blogging

Entry date: August 12, 2010

It is interesting to see the expressions on people’s faces when I tell them I plan to blog about a different Chippewa Valley business onwer each day in the RelyLocal Blog. A few have looked at me as if I am crazy, while mentioning that they have never tried blogging, and would be cautious about the time it would take to carry it out, much less daily.

The way I look at it, I am genuinely interested in business owners of Chippewa Valley Area businesses, such as what prompted them to start their business, why they opened their business in the Chippewa Valley, what their goals are, and if there are areas of assistance they need.

Over the next few days and coming weeks as I introduce the business owners I have met with, I encourage you to get to know them, visit their website, stop into their stores to peruse the selections they have on hand, or the get to know the services they offer.

I am enthusiastic about opening RelyLocal in the Chippewa Valley, because there are many opportunities to help local consumers know about local businesses. When we work together, we can accomplish great things, and as a result local businesses will thrive and our local economy will be strengthened.

I hope you will will join me in this journey and check http://www.relylocal.com often to survey the products and services of local businesses.

Enthusiasm is running!

By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Entry Date: August 5, 2010

Today was a great day out there promoting RelyLocal – Chippewa Valley. The businesses I talked to are excited about what RelyLocal will offer the area, and are ready to jump on board. Those I talked to also provided referrals of other local businesses that seem excited about the possibilities. Those I interviewed for my blog (which will start next week officially) are looking forward to seeing their feature as part of this blog’s following.

Now to shift gears and get ready to indulge in the company of 1000 or so who attend the concert series on Thursday nights, and enjoy a night of networking, listening and relaxing at Phoenix Park. I always bring my journal and find inspiration through the music that is shared, and the word pour out of my thoughts onto the pages of my journal.


RelyLocal is doing “Word-of-Mouse” Networking

By Craig Campana craigcampana@relylocal.com

Welcome to my first of many “Word-of-Mouse” blog entries. As I start this venture, the thought of doing a daily blog is a little daunting, however I am excited about the content, and believe that will make it enjoyable to provide a daily update for you to read.

I am working hard to prepare blogs that will appear each day starting Wednesday August 11, 2010. There are so many talented people operating the businesses that thrive in the Chippewa Valley and they need your support, so each of my daily blog entries will feature a different Chippewa Valley business owner. I am enjoying devoting time to get to know them and have become a community advocate for their business. I hope to create some attention to them each day, and will encourage you to stop in to their store or visit their website and get to know their businesses. Some of these businesses will have coupons available on their listing on http://www.relylocal.com so you can save some money when you stop in to visit them. Be sure to let them know you read about them in the “Word-of-Mouse” Blog.

I hope you enjoy each day’s content.

PS: If you would like to feature your business in this blog, simply email me at craigcampana@relylocal.com and we can arrange to complete a 20-minute interview by phone or in person so I can get to know you and your business better.