As the ShopCity.com network continues to expand, this week we're celebrating a milestone closer to home.
We are proud to announce that our flagship local site, ShopMidland.com, has crossed one million dollars in total subscription revenue generated.
ShopMidland.com was launched in April of 2000 as a guerrilla marketing campaign organized for local merchants by ShopCity.com CEO, Colin Pape.
Back then, Colin was just 20-years old, and had been building websites for a couple of years in his home community of Midland, Ontario, population 17,500.
It had just been announced that Walmart and Home Depot were coming to town and many business owners were worried that they were going to lose their livelihoods, including Colin's parents who owned a retail paint store called 'Topline Paint & Colour'.
Colin decided to leverage the power of the internet to mount an online shop local campaign and one night put up 150 signs around town on all of the street posts that read 'ShopMidland.com - Support Your Community'. Overnight, a local movement was born.
Soon store owners started asking to display ShopMidland.com signs in their windows and wanted to get listed on the site. The campaign continued to grow and grow, until the ShopMidland.com model began spreading to nearby communities. This would eventually lead to the founding of ShopCity.com in 2008.
"I had no idea back then that ShopMidland.com would one day generate more than a million dollars in revenue and serve as the model for dozens of community shop local campaigns" said Colin, as he discusses the genesis of the ShopCity.com model that enables small merchants to power their own local Amazon.com-like site.
One million dollars in revenue is especially significant considering the small population of the area, with less than 20,000 people.
The site that started with zero revenue and a $500 marketing budget now generates more than $250,000 in recurring revenue per year, a number that's growing rapidly - more than 50% last year alone.
The success of the site has been made possible by the enthusiastic support of business owners in Midland; many of the businesses that subscribed originally back in 2000 are still customers to this day.
And with the increase in business content, the site has become more and more valuable to consumers who log more than 40,000 unique visits per month.
With the ShopMidland.com model now definitively proven, other cities across North America are now adopting the model, with the goal of surpassing the same milestone in the future.
"Successful local independent businesses ensure vibrant communities and strong local economies," said Rick Kloss, ShopCity.com's General Manager. "Our growth and success in Midland proves that local businesses can thrive in a globalized world."
ShopCity.com now hosts active local sites across Canada and into the United States, and we're only just beginning; with more than 8,000 domains in the ShopCity.com portfolio, there are many more communities where the ShopMidland.com model can have an impact.
As we grow, we are grateful to the Midland community for their
support and enabling ShopCity.com to grow strong from the ground up.