GLADWIN COUNTY – The Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce and the Gladwin County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) are getting ready to launch a Michigan’s Backyard mobile app this spring that will serve as a directory for Gladwin County. 

The app has been in development since November 2020, under the direction of the Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce Board, their previous Executive Director, Yvette Keast and EDC Director, Bob Balzer. The app is being developed by Point ‘N Save, LLC, a mobile app development company in California that primarily develops chamber of commerce and non-profit apps. Yvette claims this is the company’s first time developing an app that connects the user to events, businesses and more throughout an entire county instead of solely a chamber or single organization. The app will include four separate sections for the user to explore: a business directory, community events, a business locator, and a landmark locator.

Business directory

The initial screen on the business directory page will display a number of categories such as “Advertising and Media” and “Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry” for the user to navigate through. Each category will provide a list of businesses and organizations that offer goods and services related to the category that are located throughout the county. This will hopefully provide existing residents and professionals in Gladwin County with a greater awareness of local businesses and also provide visitors with the knowledge of what the county has to offer in terms of food, shopping, sporting, etc. The page will also feature a search bar, allowing the user to search by category or specific business name. 

Businesses and organizations will have the ability to sponsor specific categories in the business directory as part of the business directory category package. For example, Stearns Marketing in Beaverton could sponsor the Advertising and Media category and have their logo shown above the category link. These logos included in the app will have direct links to the business or organization websites for the users to further explore. 

Once users have selected a category, the businesses and organizations included in that category will be listed. Businesses have the opportunity to display their logo and a description in the app as part of the business listing enhancement package (also included in the home screen premier and business directory category packages). This description also includes links to a business phone number, address locator and website. These descriptions and contact links are seen when the user selects or searches a specific business or organization from the list under any given category. 

Participating businesses with a basic business listing will be listed with a name, address, phone number and website free of charge. Businesses choosing to enhance their listing with their logo, description and business locator in the app are listed at the top of their directory listing. The app is a connection for residents and visitors to the many local businesses. It is important that all Gladwin County businesses be a part of the directory, and each are encouraged to enhance their listing by adding a logo and information about their company or organization.  

Community events

Events that take place throughout the county will be featured on the community events page of the app. This page will list the events, with the top most event being the one closest by date. When the user selects an event from the list, they will be provided with a date and time as well as a description of the event. This description page will have options to call the event organizer, link to the event website, register for the event within the app and to add the event to your mobile calendar. Before events are listed in the app, they will go through a screening process to assure their legitimacy and suitability. 

Business locator

The business locator page will show a map of the county and display businesses/organizations as star-points on the map. These star-points will be color coded based on category. The map screen will allow the user to easily determine the locations of the businesses based on their current location. The only businesses found on the business locator page are those who have purchased the enhanced listed or the category listing sponsorship. 

Landmark locator

This page will appear similar to the business locator only instead of businesses and organizations, it will show local landmarks. Landmarks featured will vary and include places such as the Gladwin City Park and Campground and the Beaverton Ross Lake Splash Park as well as other fun and historic places to visit in Gladwin County. 

The app will also feature location-based notifications that will help to inform the user of their close proximity to a business, organization, and/or landmark. The app development company mentioned that these notifications will not be designed to pop-up every time the user passes a specific location, but instead to make them aware of nearby locations that could be of interest. 

The Michigan’s Backyard app will be featured as an informative app such as Yelp or Trip Advisor only specifically for Gladwin County businesses, events, and landmarks. This will allow for a larger amount of information specific to the county to be accessible to residents, new and old, as well as visitors who are looking for things to do. Because it is focused on Gladwin County, the app has potential to be a better resource for local information than the larger Yelp or Trip Advisor or any other business locator, or event apps.   

In early February, the app was shown at both Gladwin and Beaverton business association meetings to create an awareness of how it can be used to promote local businesses. The app presentation featured the multiple packages for local businesses to take advantage of. According to the chamber, the home screen premier package, which allows for a business to display their logo (with a link to the businesses website) on the app’s initial home screen or landing page, has already sold a few of its limited spots. 

If you would like to receive more information on the business sponsorship packages for the Michigan’s Backyard app, or to obtain an application for any of the packages, including the free basic business listing package, email executivedirector@gladwincountychamber.org or Bob Balzer with the Gladwin County EDC at. The Gladwin County Chamber of Commerce and the Gladwin County EDC are happy to have partnered with Point ‘N Save who currently plan to launch the Michigan’s Backyard mobile app on April 1. 

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