Kelby Williams and Melody Jarvis of Shop My Town with vendor Jo Hart. Picture: Cordell Richardson
Kelby Williams and Melody Jarvis of Shop My Town with vendor Jo Hart. Picture: Cordell Richardson

New platform keeping local dollars in Ipswich

SUPPORTING local has never been more important due to the coronavirus pandemic having a devastating impact on businesses across the country.

Many will not come out on the other side and those who have hung in have had to adjust and adapt to survive through unprecedented times.

Shop My Town, which launched as a buy local campaign in the Lockyer Valley in 2014, has come to Ipswich to make it easier for locals to spend their dollars close to home.

It is headed by Melody Jarvis and Kelby Williams, who have launched their new online shopping platform for the first time in Ipswich so local businesses can cement an online presence.

The unique marketplace model has been developed over the past 18 months.

"We drive that with very active social media marketing so specific customers are driven towards the channels of product they want to buy," Ms Jarvis said.

"We have run programs in the Lockyer Valley, western Queensland, Gippsland in Victoria and on the South Coast in New South Wales.

"We have always been focused on driving locals back to their local traders. This new model we're rolling out across Australia, we're starting in Ipswich."

About 20 Ipswich businesses have preregistered so far, with nine vendors live on the site.

"The whole point is to help local stores reach out to find local customers," Mr Williams said.

"It's so that people, when they're going online to buy products, are able to buy from the shop around the corner rather than buying stuff from Brisbane, Sydney, overseas or wherever.

"We're trying to stop the drain of funds out of town. Keep that money in town and rebuild the heart of town."

Shop My Town has partnered with Ipswich City Council to secure approval for the Advance in Regional Innovation Program.

It will provide the first 100 businesses to sign up with a free marketing setup, an eCommerce starter pack, shipping bags and promotional materials.

The business has also been approved for a grant through the Exporter Market Engagement Program to send a hamper featuring south east Queensland products to Hong Kong.

It will be shipped off on May 26 and include Ipswich products, with the goodies being received by Australian expat influencers.

Shop My Town has been assisted in their overseas venture by Trade and Investment Queensland's Ipswich branch.

"It has been a privilege to work so closely with Shop My Town," TIQ principal trade and investment officer Julie Mark said.

"They have done much of the work themselves, but it's been great to nudge them in the right direction when they need it.

"Their ideas are nothing short of innovative. It's great to see their passion go towards something that will help multiple local businesses when they need it most."