Hundreds of black-owned businesses have a new way for consumers to find and shop with them. There is an app for that.
The Around the Way app, the brainchild of a marketing and technology firm in Washington, D.C., allows the customer access to companies that are at least 51% African-American owned and employed. The U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce last fall endorsed the app as the wave of the future for buying black, but the local chambers attended an online seminar last month in order to educate their membership on its use and marketing.
Eric Hamilton, Chief Marketing Officer for Around the Way, said that the structure of the service follows the Google model. “When Google first started, they allowed companies to list their service for free, but charged a premium for those who wanted to be located by ratings rather than location,” he said. “All of our registered companies sign up for free, but there is a premium service for $89 per year that allows a company to be the first choice in that category no matter how far away they are from the consumer.”
Since the fall, the Around the Way has registered over 800 companies in Georgia with 200 of that in metro Atlanta. Free to download, the app features a search tool with categories from banks to restaurants to auto shops and more. Users are able to geo-locate and get directions to the closest business via category, but it also allows for some healthy competition.
“Say you’re in Atlanta and you want to find a laundry or dry cleaners,” said Hamilton. “The app will give you the choice to go to the business that is within 5 miles or the higher rated business that may be in Marietta,” he said.