An entrepreneur is expanding his professional portfolio with a new venture focused on connecting small businesses and customers for interactive experiences.
Veteran software developer Brad Benton this month launched Locally Noted LLC, which through its web portal organizes themed quests that involve multiple businesses, such as breweries and restaurants. The participating businesses provide exclusive offerings to ticket holders at each of the quest’s waypoints, he said of the idea that offers adventurous expeditions to market local companies.
“What we wanted to do was create an experience where you go and visit that business and you’re actually building a relationship between the business owner and the customer and not just offering a quick discount,” Benton said, noting the venture goes beyond a Groupon or discount punch card promotions.
Ticket sales for the first experience, dubbed Brew-to-Brew, began Dec. 1, with the quest set to start Christmas Day.
Tickets are $25 and sold through LocallyNoted.com, but Benton said a mobile app is under development and should be available by mid-January. Nine businesses are on board for the SWMO Brew-to-Brew experience, he said, including 4 by 4 Brewing Co. LLC, Tie and Timber Beer Co. LLC, Great Escape Beer Works LLC and Prehistoric Brewing Co. LLC.
Benton said 4 by 4 Brewing seeks to promote its packaged to-go products and will have customers using short-range wireless technology, called near-field communication, to unlock a 25% discount code.
“It’s about using an interactive, fun experience to guide that customer to what the business owner is trying to promote,” he said.
Businesses spend between $450 and $2,000 to participate with Locally Noted, depending on what each offers at the waypoint, Benton said. Locally Noted handles all ticket sales, redemption codes and promotions.
Declining to disclose his investment in the startup, Benton said it took around eight months to develop the technology.
“I wanted to do something a little different – especially in a new COVID environment – to give back to local businesses,” said Benton, whose main business is Hospitify Marketing LLC, a company that develops software for the hospitality industry. “This was an opportunity to build something out that was a little more entertaining than our normal endeavors.”
Benton said he has around 20 years of software development experience, including the past 13 years with Hospitify. While he declined to expand on Hospitify’s services, the company’s website indicates it has developed sales and event management and learning management systems for the hospitality industry.
Benton said ticket holders have several months to complete the experiences, as they are meant as a marathon, not a sprint. For SWMO Brew-to-Brew, tickets can be bought through March 20. After that date, participants have another 90 days to complete the quests. Future experiences include Date Night and Iconic Eats, he said.
“The whole quest runs six months, but we only sell tickets for the first 90 days and give them an additional 90 days to complete the quest,” he said.
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