A Podcast Interview with Go Buy Local president and CEO, Bill Veeneman
Communities all over the country are experiencing the negative impact of big box merchants (e.g., Walmart) who are decimating local small merchants and putting many of them out of business. But that is only one reason that motivates shoppers to buy locally and certainly affects those of us who live in major cities or their suburbs much less. A much bigger motivator is what an innovative startup called Go Buy Local provides: Supporting local businesses and community endeavors all while the shopper is getting a deal!
Successes like General Mills’ Box Tops for Education as well as “deal only” startups (e.g., Groupon; LivingSocial) have proven that shopping-incentive models work. The challenge is these are usually of singular or limited focus: Either a manufacturer focusing on one of their product categories, a retailer like Target offering a program only for their own stores, or a deal site motivating shoppers only when there is a deal.
Go Buy Local has taken the “sweet spot” of these successful models one giant step further and lays out their focus and vision like this, “…money spent in your community will contribute directly to its sustainability and your welfare. Our focus is to engage residents and visitors to support local businesses, schools and causes. Our vision is to strengthen local business partners, enhance social welfare, and promote a “green” approach to consumption of locally grown, made, and sold items, which contributes to building a thriving, sustainable community. Each dollar spent in the community will multiply two to three times over as they pay wages and taxes, buy services and other items needed to operate, and enable donations to local nonprofits to enrich the community.”
Go Buy Local’s Deals+Donations is something they consider an industry “game changer” and is a model that is “…adding a new dimension to cause marketing that offers customers a deal along with a built-in donation to the school or cause of their choice. Consumers save money and their favorite school or cause receives much-needed donations, a true double incentive!”
Go Buy Local was founded by Bill Veeneman, a former Target Stores executive and serial entrepreneur who founded, and is now president and CEO of, this startup that is poised for national expansion. Bill developed marketing technologies for Fortune 500 companies, including the invention of Target’s gift registry program (which generates more than $1 Billion in sales annually) and founding Hallmark Insights (which provides custom business incentive programs). Go Buy Local has already generated more than $150,000 for area schools and causes.
Having known Bill for many years — and witnessed his ongoing successes — I was delighted to have a chance to interview him about Go Buy Local so he could provide more detail and his own insights about his latest adventure.