Vermilion, OH, December 22, 2019 --(PR.com
)-- Vermilion resident Joseph McHenry approached his longtime friend Jonathan Hauck with an idea on the July 4 weekend in 2017. McHenry, who has a history working in IT selling software, told Hauck that he wanted to build a phone app for Vermilion.
“A week later, (McHenry) had a working prototype and I thought, ‘This might just work,’” he said.
The app, VTown Insider, was launched two months later on Sept. 24, the same day as Vermilion’s Woollybear Festival.
VTown Insider is a guide to Vermilion, featuring restaurants, shops, parks and beaches, hotels and AirBnBs, events, real estate, a calendar with Ritter Public Library, located at 5680 Liberty Ave., events and locations for wedding venues.
Chez Francois Restaurant, 555 Main St., is featured on the home page of the app with events and a menu.
“What we decided was to focus on, was one area and do it well,” Hauck said.
Hauck and McHenry have partnered with Main Street Vermilion, 685 Main St., Ritter Public Library, Vermilion Port Authority, Friends of Harbour Town, Vermilion Chamber of Commerce and the city of Vermilion.
Local restaurants also have partnered with the app, providing weekly coupons to its users.
The app averages around 3,500 new local visitors a month and has garnered over 70,000 visitors, 300,000 page views McHenry said.
Hauck and McHenry also have launched two other small town apps in Amherst (Amherst Insider), Put-in-Bay (PutinBay Insider) and the Sandusky/Kelley’s Island area, which still is in a beta phase.
“Our niche is the small town,” Hauck said. “The smaller towns is a niche that nobody’s really focusing on.
“A lot of people are coming from the bigger cities to have the small town experience.”
Hauck and McHenry hope to compile all of their small town apps into a single app under VTown Insider within the next few months, as well as work with the city of Vermilion to provide real-time updates on construction, weather and comments-and-concerns section for locals.
“We think that would be a game changer,” McHenry said.