The town of Wellesley has launched a website called InWellesley that’s designed to provide local businesses with mini-websites for free in an effort to encourage shoppers to discover and visit them.
The website interface and navigation system, based on technology from WebQA, might look familiar to those who have visited the Wellesley town website, which includes a way for residents and other website visitors to ask questions and get information.
The InWellesley website is clearly in its infancy, with placeholders for local businesses, including 52 food/restaurant businesses and 38 beauty/spa outfits. It will be up to businesses to claim their space on the site and populate it with information, coupons and other good stuff. Mobile apps are also on their way for Android and Apple phones.
According to Wellesley Deputy Director Terry Connolly, the project was initially funded by the town and is free until July 1 for businesses to claim their micro-site. After that, they’ll have to pay a one-time $50 fee.
A number of efforts have been orchestrated in recent years to liven up the local business climate, including both in Linden Square and Wellesley Square.
The Wellesley Community Art Project, for example, fills vacant storefronts with locally-produced art in order to showcase real estate (thankfully, most of the downtown storefronts have filled up of late). Local business directories have come and gone, and the Wellesley Chamber of Commerce has spiffed up its website as well. A startup called SidewalkAd has also worked with local businesses on a mobile app that enables users to grab coupons and discounts on the fly.
What was once called the Wellesley Square Initiative has in fact morphed into a townwide Wellesley Community Development effort, according to Connolly. “The Town continues to look to solicit input from merchants and property owners and we have begun interviews with property owners and merchants in Wellesley Hills and Wellesley Lower Falls which will continue through the summer. The goal is to create synergies and linkages among all the businesses in town,” Connolly says.