Thursday, November 3, 2005

Welcome to MerchantCircle!

Welcome to MerchantCircle!

We're excited to open the doors to what we believe is a better way of helping local businesses help each other, better compete with the big guys and ultimately, build a stronger tie between businesses and the communities they serve.

Local businesses have always been a very strong part of our lives.

Ben's Favorite Local Businesses

"I remember growing up with all the local businesses in my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama. I often spent Saturday chatting up the high school football team's prospects while getting a haircut at Ken and Vernon's on Fairhope Avenue, and then afterward, grabbing a burger at our family barbecue joint, Ben Jr.'s on Section Street. Local businesses are where we spend family time together. Of course there were other local businesses that were important to me that are not there anymore as well, such as Daphne Pharmacy where they not only opened in the middle of the night to bring me medicine but also where I started working at 13."

Wayne's Favorite Local Businesses:

"For me, local businesses have always been the best place to help me figure out how to fix things at my house. I'm often at Tuggey's hardware store on 24th Street in San Francisco checking out fixtures or tools. The folks at West Coast Video always have the best recommendations for new hit movies and hidden older gems. I only get that kind of help from my local neighborhood merchants."

These merchants were always the experts on the neighborhood, with great referrals and leads to other local businesses. They were the places where we spent our money and our time, all the while developing strong memories and bonds with our community.

Now, we're really thrilled to help these local merchants go further, become more successful and gain a stronger presence in their online and offline neighborhoods. We've talked with hundreds of local merchants who have said they want better ways to connect with each other and more efficient ways of reaching customers. Customers have said they want something that's more than just a yellow pages listing. MerchantCircle is happy to provide that solution for both merchants and consumers. Today is just the beginning, and many new features and services are planned for MerchantCircle in the coming weeks.

We believe the following ideas, and you'll hear us talking more about them in the future:

1. Local merchants working together can compete with the big guys.
2. Merchants want to help other merchants be more successful.
3. The community is a big part of what makes local business so compelling.
4. Customers love merchants who provide special deals and insights.

Here's where we need your help. We're counting on your feedback, thoughts, ideas and critiques to help us focus on what's most important. Let us know what features you want and need. Send your thoughts to, or write them here on our blog. We'll read all of them, and do our best to frequently respond.

Thanks again for all your support, and we look forward to seeing you in your neighborhood soon.

Warm Regards,

Ben T. Smith, IV and Wayne Yamamoto

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