Charles Hall, left, and his mother Robin Hall, right, started Sequim Specials to serve as a hub where local businesses can advertise their specials, hours, location, etc., online. Photo by Ashley Miller
As a mother of seven children, it's no surprise Robin Hall constantly is looking for ways to save money.
Clipping coupons, bargain shopping, buying in bulk ... she's tried it all to pinch a few pennies.
"With the economy the way it is and with a lot of kids, we're always looking for deals," she said.
But this year Robin Hall decided to take matters into her own hands. With the help of her eldest son Charles Hall, 24, the Sequim native developed and launched a site dedicated to helping Sequim shoppers find the best deals in town.
Sequim Specials is an online hub designed to help consumers locate the lowest prices on services and products in town and help businesses to connect with potential customers.
Only "family businesses" are listed, giving the mom-and-pop shops an edge against big box stores and national chains. Featured categories, latest specials, community events ... the site revolves around what's going on and what Sequim has to offer.
As president, Robin Hall manages the bulk of responsibility for the business. Charles Hall, director of marketing, will return to Utah at the end of summer where he attends college but will continue to telecommute and update the site daily until he returns to the Sequim area.
Family-owned businesses, according to Robin Hall, are the backbone of a strong community and it saddens her to say that the only remaining non-franchise business she remembers from her childhood is Frick's Drug store. All the others have come and gone.
Charles Hall holds up a newspaper with an article about Swain's Outdoor closing in Sequim on the front page.
"This," he said passionately, "is what we hope to help prevent. I carry this article around with me as a reminder of why we're doing this."
Packages range in price from the most basic - which includes the business name, address and phone number - at $15 a month to the most expensive platinum package - with weekly updates - at $50 a month.
"All the business owners I've met with have said this is a very reasonable service," Charles Hall said.
The Sequim Specials homepage is linked with Face- book and Twitter to reach a greater audience.
"A lot of consumers are going online within
Sequim," Charles Hall said.
"About 13,000 people are using Facebook within a 25-mile radius of the center of Sequim."
Early in the morning, Sequim Specials had 311 Facebook "friends."
"Every time I check it, we are growing," Robin Hall said.
Further expansion is in the blueprints. The names and domains for similar sites in Port Angeles and Port Townsend already are reserved. If Sequim Specials is thriving in six months, the others will launch, Charles Hall said.
"We don't want to compete with the newspaper or radio," Robin Hall said, with Charles Hall nodding in agreement.
"Our main goal is to promote local businesses while helping families and individuals save time and money."
The name "Sequim Specials" speaks for itself, according to Robin Hall.
"We promote Sequim specials, but also Sequim is special," she said.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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