a downtown raleigh blog

Get to know your small, local business way better

Hargett Street by Leo Suarez

Tonia Zampieri wanted to know how she could turn the tide for small business USA where she says it’s painfully evident nothing great exists in online marketing to help them fight the threat of another national chain restaurant, company, or big box store moving in and putting their small local business out of business.  

After doing market research she found most options where (for small businesses) too expensive, annoying, and not truly social (to connect customers to services).

Tonia started Finder411, a social platform where businesses and consumers can get to know each other better, all based on better information and better connections.

She is also a winner of my 3 free blog posts contest!


Q: What does hyperlocal mean to you?

It means my neighborhood, the portion of the city where I spend most of my time, within a 5-10 mile radius.

Q: How does Finder411 highlight small, local businesses and help them succeed within the community?

Finder411 capitalizes on the unique qualities of small, local businesses by leveraging the growing number of consumers who are dedicated to supporting local business and wanting to see them succeed by helping spread the word about them through the new word of mouth: social media.

Instead of ads, we are creating business profiles that include engaging professional photos and stories that captivate visitors, making them feel like they know the business (and the owners).

Q: How does Finder411 create an online community?

Finder411 is at the core a social platform.

Business owners create a profile that includes at least one social media channel link to grow their following. And, each business profile is sharable. Photos are an important part of the business profile; they can be enlarged and shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Users can login via a social media platform (Facebook, right now), then LIKE and share the page on Facebook, recommend and share it on Google+, and tweet it on Twitter. Users also create a profile, where they save their favorite small businesses  and services. Then, when they need to access their info, it’s at their fingertips.

Q: How do you think Raleigh is different and similar to other cities across the country when it comes to the local movement?

Raleigh, like other cities such as Austin, is seeing huge population growth and with that brings many more small business entrepreneurs to the landscape—as well as those whose mission it is to support independent businesses. The shop local, support local movement is strong here.

Based on the research I’ve done, other US cities are following suit and participating in this local phenomenon. Why? Because the cost of living and inflation continue to rise, suburbs are becoming less popular with younger people moving into cities and urban areas, so not having to travel as far to live your life is what’s desired. This all supports the small independent business model.

Q: When do you launch? And will you expand beyond the Triangle?

We launch in late spring! And yes, there is a ton of potential beyond the Triangle… we look forward to taking cities across the country by storm!

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