The pathway to achieving sustainability in a community differs from place to place, but one of the fundamentals that makes sustainability successful is a commitment to the well-being of local businesses.
cheQitout has dedicated its business model to “keeping it local” and with each transaction, helps neighborhoods and local businesses thrive. The Vancouver-based company offers a unique mobile and web-based e-commerce platform for local businesses that allows them to directly compete with large, big box stores and advertisers. When merchants partner with cheQitout, they’re given the opportunity to gain customers and expand their brand in a crowded digital shopping marketplace. When users purchase a deal from cheQitout, they’re giving back to the community.
Joe Mazzarella, president, and Ed Frankel, chairman, first met at WSU Vancouver, where they regularly serve as mentors to business students. Frankel shares that the initial concept for the e-commerce platform took about three and a half years to develop and earlier this year, they officially launched a new, native app that can be downloaded through Apple or Google. Frankel is passionate about what their platform can offer to local businesses.
“We encourage the community to come together in a homogenous atmosphere,” he explained. “Every time someone purchases or gives through our website, they go to the store to pick up the service/product. When they’re in the shop, they can buy more when they get there.”
For local merchants, that translates to direct communication with buyers that they may not normally have been able to interact with.
“We bring the customers in for them and that allows for a partnership to form,” Frankel added.
The focus goes beyond local businesses, too. cheQitout also believes in being generous through charitable giving, so with every purchase, the company donates a portion of sales to local charities. Some of these include the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools, Meals on Wheels People, Share House, Oregon Humane Society, Battle Ground Health Care and many more.
How it works for users
Users can sign up for free on their website, www.cheqitout.co, then start exploring and buying from a variety of businesses around Portland and Southwest Washington. cheQitout regularly posts exclusive local offers, sales and deals, then users can customize what types of deals interest them the most. Salons, restaurants, home remodeling services, boutiques and movies are just some of things that are available on the website. With every purchase, members are giving back directly to their neighborhoods and community.
How it works for merchants
“We address the need of the independent small- or medium-sized businesses that don’t have the platform to reach customers this way,” Frankel said.
Merchants can sign up on the cheQitout website, then work with a merchant representative to decide which deal they want to post. cheQitout will use its innovative notification system to alert users that there is a new deal. When the merchant makes a sale, cheQitout will deposit funds within 48 hours to the merchant, which promotes growth for the independent merchant and allows for more robust inventory control.
Local merchants and shoppers have already shown great support in the concept. Because of this, cheQitout has grown at a rapid pace, mostly through word-of-mouth referrals. The company now employs nine people and four of these employees are students from WSU. Their future plans include expansion into other states, where they can help local communities there. Plans are also underway to establish a presence on the East Coast, where the company hopes to open offices in early 2017.
Nine employees Founded 2015 www.cheqitout.co