Our founder, Carl Baldesare, was born and raised in Cleveland. A small business owner himself, he was looking to grow his contracting company. However, he realized that getting the word out for a small business was no easy task. Puzzling over why this was the case, he had his eureka moment while enjoying a cup of coffee outside a local coffee shop: traffic at the shop was average at best, while people were flocking to a large chain cafe across the street for the same products.
He decided to investigate. After speaking with patrons of the chain, he found their responses were much the same: They did not know the local shop was there, or they were afraid to try something unfamiliar. He invited a few of the patrons over to the local shop and bought them a cup of coffee. The response? Patrons were surprised to find that the quality was much better, and not for a higher price!
Carl realized he could fix this misunderstanding on a larger scale. The next day, The Keep It Local Project was born! After months of interviews with both businesses and consumers to find out exactly how to bridge this communication gap while meeting everyone’s needs, we had a “soft launch” of our online Local Marketplace in February of 2014.