New app coming this month for finding Easton businesses, services
Apps, vaccines, and more to aid local businesses as the state reopens
By the end of June, anyone will be able to download a new app to their phone that will put an Easton business directory at their fingertips.
Donna Whitehead, Wicked Local
EASTON – Looking to try a new restaurant, need a birthday gift, ready to sell your house, seeking a new dentist, want the best place for a hike? Easton’s going to have an app for that.
By the end of June, anyone will be able to download a new app to their phone that will put an Easton business directory at their fingertips. The app will also list events, recreational offerings and provide information about town government such as how to get a building permit.
The new app is being funded by a $71,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Business Development’s Local Pilot Project.
The grant was awarded to Old Colony Planning Council, the regional planning agency for 17 municipalities including Easton, Select Board Chairman Dottie Fulginiti explained to the Easton Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting June 15 at Maguire’s Bar and Grill. The state was looking for ideas on how to provide immediate economic relief to communities.
“The grant is part of a regional recovery strategy for local municipalities,” Fulginiti said.
Fulginiti, who works for the Old Colony Planning Council helping communities with COVID recovery and resiliency, found several council member communities interested in doing something similar to the town’s #EastonOutside campaign.
The #EastonOutside campaign launched in November 2020 to help local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic. Since then it has grown into a town/private partnership promoting all the town has to offer from shops and restaurants to recreation and culture with signs, contests and fun videos.
More: This is how #EastonOutside is helping local businesses during COVID pandemic
“I had also had been looking for business apps that you could download on your phone and that give you everything you want to know about your communities and was figuring out how to pay for it,” Fulginiti said.
The grant will fund the apps and marketing a “Buy Local” campaign for Easton, Avon, Brockton and Stoughton.
The council is collaborating with the Easton and the Metro South chambers of commerce to get business data and assistance in promoting the app, Fulginiti said.
“We will have a really good, robust business list,” she said.
The towns will be able to continue to add and update business listings to announce events like a Father’s Day special as well as collect information on site traffic and number of downloads.
“It will give us information to know if it is working for us,” Fulginiti said.
The grant only funds the apps for the first year, after which time the towns must decide if it has been successful whether to shoulder the cost, Fulginiti said.
The app should be released by the end of June and will be available in Apple and Android app stores.
“It’s great for people who live here,” Fulginiti said. “It’s great for new people coming to town who are saying, ‘Where do I find a doctor?’ ‘I want a photographer for my wedding.’”
Fulginiti praised those behind the #EastonOutside campaign for inspiring this next step for promoting local business.
Known for the videos he filmed and posted to promote his restaurant during COVID, Maguire’s owner Neil Levine volunteered to do videos for #Easton Outside. He posted weekly pieces on business owners, staff and residents at various locations which were shared through social media. The campaign received funding from North Easton Savings Bank and the town.
“We came together with colleagues and with some who we may consider competitors in an unprecedented time,” Levine said.
Since its inception #EastonOutside’s hash tag on social media and various promotions have had more than 100,000 views, Levine said.
“Our success has become a model for other communities across the state and is now being replicated all over Massachusetts,” he said.
The first goal of #EastonOutside was to help local businesses face the challenges of the pandemic, Levine said.
“We survived pandemic and our long term goal is to continue to promote, business, recreation and civic opportunities in the town of Easton,” Levine said.
Town Administrator Connor Read outlined other steps being taken to help the town’s economy recover. One is continuing to work to get all residents vaccinated. Currently about 70 percent of Easton residents are at least partially vaccinated, he said.
“We still have a lot of work to do on vaccines,” he said. “We can’t have a substantial economic recovery unless COVID is put in the rear view mirror and that can’t happen until everyone is vaccinated.”
The town has partnered with Rite Aid to offer more targeted and specific vaccine clinics throughout the summer for those who have hesitated, don’t have paid time off for vaccines or just haven’t gotten around to it, Read said.
Last month, the town held a Vote and Vax event offering vaccines at the annual Town Meeting.
Next the town will offer an event Read dubbed, Jobs and Jabs, tentatively set for June 29. Working with MassHire and the Easton chamber, the town will provide 10 businesses seeking workers with a table in the recovery room of a local vaccine clinic.
“We are going to have a captive audience because as all of those who have been vaccinated know you have to sit there and do nothing for 15 minutes,” he said.
This will target younger residents who make up most of those who haven’t been vaccinated and may be interested in jobs in the restaurant or services industries.
“We’re trying to take a look at public health in a more holistic sense,” Read said. “It’s not just health it’s how we are going to get people healthy and vaccinated and back to work.”
Staff writer Donna Whitehead can be reached by email at [email protected]. You can also friend her on Facebook. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to the Journal News Independent today.