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ANCA, partners seek more funding for e-commerce program

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

Initiative helps businesses during COVID-19 pandemic                         

Clarkson University students like Jada Flanagan helped build and enhance local businesses’ websites as part of the university’s e-commerce support program. (PHOTO CREDIT: CLARKSON UNIVERSITY, VIA ANCA)

POTSDAM — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and its partners are pursuing additional funding for a second round of website builds for businesses seeking to get involved in e-commerce.

ANCA, Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation, and the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce have already unveiled a group of new and revamped websites that will help businesses “withstand the pandemic and build resilience for the future.”

ANCA’s North Country Center for Businesses in Transition is also among the partners on the project.

ANCA and the Shipley Center hope to build on the program’s success and provide more website builds for local businesses “who express an urgent need.” The partners are currently seeking funding to support a second round of projects, per a July 8 news release.

The organizations say the effort is about “recognizing the need among local businesses to adapt their marketing strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic,” ANCA said. 

How the program works

Under the new program, Clarkson University students provided full website builds for North Country businesses that are new to e-commerce, as well as website and marketing consulting for entrepreneurs who want to enhance their existing platforms. 

An unnamed “generous” ANCA member, a special and urgent-needs grant from the Adirondack Foundation, and the Shipley Center for Innovation paid for the first round of website improvements, ANCA said. 

“This initiative is not only helping local businesses mitigate sales disruptions by offering online purchasing options, [but] it is also building resilience into their long-term business strategies,” Danielle Delaini, ANCA business transitions coordinator, said in the release. “We are grateful to the donors and organizations that are supporting the North Country business community through this effort.”

Participating businesses as well as student web developers have benefited from the program, ANCA contends.

“Any opportunity that students and community members can work together is a benefit,” Ashley Sweeney, associate director for Clarkson University’s Shipley Center for Innovation, said. “The collaboration between the stakeholders in this group has helped many more businesses than we could have alone. Letting students use the skills they have learned in the classroom to help companies establish new ways of working during the COVID crisis has been very beneficial all around.” 

“This project is really a win-win-win … for local businesses who get the technical assistance they need, it’s a win for the nonprofit organizations who can further their mission, and it’s a win for students who get authentic learning experiences and a real sense of accomplishment,” Eric York, professor of communication, media, and design at Clarkson University, said.

Of the nine full website builds, six launched in June, ANCA said. The development team also provided website and marketing consultations to 18 small businesses and supplemental financial support for e-commerce projects.

Assisted businesses

ANCA contends that the program has added value to local businesses in transition, like Circle Court Motel in Ticonderoga in Essex County. Owners Jerry and Barb Greer are actively investing time and effort in developing the value of their business through this initiative, even as they prepare for retirement and seek new owners.

The Greers said the new website (circlecourtmotel.com) will not only support them through the COVID-19 crisis, but will also increase the value of their business and make their transition to new owners easier. 

Five other websites also launched in June: McLane Power Equipment in Plattsburgh (mclanepower.com), Bookburgh Books in Plattsburgh (bookburghbooks.com), Chicken Fried Quilter in Burke (chickenfriedquilter.com), Underwood Herbs in Plattsburgh (underwoodherbs.com), and Snipe Clan Botanicals in Hogansburg (snipeclanbotanicals.com).

North Country business owners interested in receiving e-commerce support are invited to fill out an inquiry form at www.adirondack.org/E-commerceSupport.                

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