A new initiative has been fostered on Sanibel with intent to help business and local residents alike by offering a homegrown version of services similarly styled after those affiliated with the enterprise known as enterprise Groupon. Most, are no doubt, familiar with Groupon's manner of allowing enrolled members to receive electronic alerts that offer huge discounts on products and services offered by businesses that also enroll in the Groupon program. Jason LaManna (of LaManna Custom Woodworking in Sanibel) says Groupon involvement comes with a few challenges. On one hand, there's the fees that Groupon collects from members and businesses; and on the other hand, there's the size of the discount businesses are required to provide for customers. LaManna says, for some businesses, those discounts may cut a little too deep.
He wondered whether it was possible to create a program that functions much the same way, but more affordable; and in the process, designed so that it not only helps deliver more customers to local businesses, but also provides a boost for local not-for-profits.
Those considerations led LaManna to collaboration with Brian Weidner of IT Specialist Solutions and Hillgate Communications' Jeremy Kane and Blanaid Colley. This cadre of entrepreneurs have collectively created The Sanibel Neighbor's Club.
Jason LaManna, Jeremy Kane and Brian Wiedner are providing helping hands for area businesses, not-for-profits and residents alike through the creation of the Sanibel Neighbors' Club.
Through membership in the club, participants routinely receive special offers from a range of Sanibel's restaurants, shops and service providers. Business members of the Club can post weekly specials of their choice for members on the organization's website and or have alerts distributed by email. This includes discounts, two-for-one offers, introductory discounts for new products, or even a great deal on an end-of-season service.
Those discounts will be received by any resident who joins the Neighbor's Club. LaManna defines "resident" as "anyone who lives full or part-time on Sanibel... but it does not stop there. If you own a timeshare, you are a resident. If you work on Sanibel, you are a resident. You have a stake in our community and we want you to benefit too."
He notes Captiva is also included in the program.
Upon joining, residents receive a members' special card. Upon showing the card at participating business, they'll receive a special rate. At present, business members include 'Tween Waters, Matzaluna, Suncatcher's Dream, Bistro at Beachview and Island Pizza. The list is growing fast, however, as LaManna says the team is adding new enterprises daily.
Membership in the club costs only $15 a year, and the savings begin immediately. Furthermore, one-third of the membership cost ($5) is donated to any not-for-profit of the member's choosing. In recent days, as word of this program has spread through the community, LaManna says the Sanibel Neighbors have already begun steering donations to causes associated with BigArts and Friends In Service Here (F.I.S.H.).
Though in its infancy, LaManna says the team has already seen positive results in terms of helping local charities and connecting businesses with local customers.
Neighbor Club Members will get a chance to greater connect with one another on February 9th when a member rally will take place at the Bistro at Beachview.
The Neighbor's Club is headquartered at the offices of Hillgate Communications (2451 Periwinkle Way). Member applications can be obtained at The Coffee Bar at Baileys, or participating business member locations, and online by going to www.sanibelneighborsclub.
"We hope that most Sanibel residents will join" says LaManna. "Our proposition is live-local, give-local and buy-local. We love our community... and hope our community loves the Club."