By Audrey Spencer
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - This week, the city's Economic Development Corporation launched its new "Shop Copperas Cove" online initiative to promote local businesses.
Business owners and managers can create a page for their business for free. They can include information such as hours of operation, news, services offered and reviews; post photos and video related to the business; and even create and post coupons for customers to print.
"Anytime you're getting supported by the Chamber of Commerce or EDC and it's not costing you any money and it's promoting your business, that's a win for everybody," said Bill French, owner of Bill French Jewelers at 2126 E. U.S. Highway 190. "It's great that they're doing this to support local businesses, because we need help in this economy."
The website can be accessed through a "Find it in Cove, Buy it in Cove" link on the corporation's website or the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce's website.
"If it helps local businesses, I'm all for it," said Linda Grubb, owner of Lady Bug Boutique, at 209 S. Main St.
Businesses also may include a link to an existing website on their pages.
"Once it really gets some traction and is used widely, it's going to be a very good source of information for everyone," said Jim Aanstoos, business retention specialist for the corporation. "It's interactive, too."
Residents and customers have the chance to use the site to research local businesses and send messages to them.
Exposure is one benefit the service offers to businesses.
"Anyone in the world theoretically can hit on this," said Aanstoos.
Work on the site began in October, and the site became active Wednesday.
As of Thursday, the site was pre-loaded with names and addresses of businesses that are chamber members.
"We work with the EDC as often as we can, when our missions run parallel," said Betty Price, chamber president. "It's to promote our city and enhance the business atmosphere here."
The site is part of the corporation's business retention and expansion project, which includes reaching out to local businesses to find out what challenges they face and how they can be helped.
"The board of directors has put business retention at the top of the list of priorities for the Copperas Cove EDC," said Dan Yancey, chairman of the corporation's board.
"This new program emphasizes our focus on helping existing businesses thrive and prosper."
Contact Audrey Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7476.