Supporting a rural and regional business has never been easier thanks to a specially dedicated marketplace known as Spend With Us.
Born from the ashes of the 2019 bushfires, the website was created over a year ago by a Central Coast New South Wales web designer Sarah Britz, supported through social media initiatives by Lauren Hateley, a clinical psychologist from rural Victoria.
The duo has since teamed up with Jenn Donovan, a Riverina based marketer and the original owner of the Facebook ‘Buy from a Bush Business” page last August, to help these businesses flourish during difficult times.
“Lots of small-town retailers don’t have e-commerce sites or digital strategies, so we’ve created a way for them to be online without all the hassle, something which has proved invaluable in preserving the income of many small businesses as they were forced to close their doors to customers due to COVID.
“The shop local and shop small movements have gained momentum during the pandemic and the Australian spirit of helping each other remains as strong as ever,” Britz said in a statement.
As the brand turns one this week, the three women look back and know they have a lot to celebrate.
The first year has seen, onboarding 800 plus rural and regional small businesses to the platform, a quarter of a million sales income through the marketplace, over a million website page views since last August and more than 300K members in their Buy From a Bush Business Facebook Group.
Reflecting on the year that was, the trio said no one could have been prepared for the impact the pandemic would have as 2020 rolled on.
As for their plans for 2021? Plenty!
Including ideas to expand the platform and to support small rural businesses even more.
“We are a marketplace and have built this online platform to support as many as we can, but we’d also like to support rural areas with some offline support too,” Donovan said.
“For example, with international travel, at this stage, off the table until 2022, we’d love Australian’s to jump in the car, head to www.spendwithus.com.au, check out the map that has all our businesses on it, and where a possible drop in and say “hey” in person as you holiday in your own country.
“We are also very aware that those affected by bushfires 12 months ago are still struggling to get on their feet.
“We do have a free Bushfire 12-month membership to our platform, but we are always looking at other ways to support them even more in the coming 12 months.”
Clockwise from top left: Jenn Donovan (in blue), Sarah Britz and Lauren Hateley. Photo: Supplied.