Youngstown Wants to Encourage Shopping Local with New App

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The city’s Board of Control Thursday approved measures that would lead to the development of a “buy local” mobile app to encourage support for small businesses here.

The board, which consists of Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, law director Jeff Limbian, and interim finance director Kyle Miasek, approved a letter of intent with Colu Technologies during a virtual meeting held on Thursday. 

The letter of intent commits the city to enter into an agreement with Colu Technologies, which would customize and license the app for no more than $15,000. 

Colu Technologies, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, is a software company that specializes in providing cities with civic engagement platforms, according to its website. The company provides a customized mobile app to promote local businesses that allows them “the same powerful tools big brands are using, such as analytics, reporting and more,” the website says.

Past initiatives included supporting a small-business thoroughfare in the Port of Jaffa in which local shops were shutting down because of a lengthy road construction project, according to Colu’s website.  To encourage local traffic, Colu partnered with the municipality to offer a 30% cash back reward to every purchase made through Colu’s digital Tel Aviv Coin, the website noted.

After the meeting, Brown urged Youngstown residents to adhere to COVID-19 protocols outlined by Gov. Mike DeWine during an address Wednesday evening.

The infection rate across the city stands at around 7%, while the state would like to see a positivity rate between 2% and 4%, Brown said. 

“Please, I’m asking,” Brown said, directing his plea to residents of the city. “Wash your hands, wear your mask, and we’ll get through this together.  I’m asking everyone to look at themselves and figure out what you can do better.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.