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January 17, 2012 | last updated January 19, 2012 6:54 am

Website launches with green-business directory

Photo/Kathleen Kelly
Photo/Kathleen Kelly
Heather Chandler, president and founder of the SunriseGuide in Portland

Green businesses in the Greater Portland area now have a place online to promote their offerings. The SunriseGuide, a Portland-based coupon book and healthy living guide, has launched a new website that includes an online directory for restaurants, retailers, cleaning companies and others that promote a sustainable lifestyle.

Though the directory went online last October, it was a "soft launch," says SunriseGuide President and founder Heather Chandler. This month, she's spreading the word about the directory through press releases, print and radio ads and social media in an effort to attract more businesses looking to promote themselves to a local, green-minded audience.

"We get questions all the time from people saying, 'Where can I find a green lawn care company?'" says Chandler. "The print publication is one resource, but if they don't have it, or want an immediate answer," they can now search online.

First printed in December 2006, the SunriseGuide features 300 coupons for health and eco-friendly products and services, as well as articles on sustainable living. Originally covering Greater Portland, it expanded its reach to the midcoast area last year, and is now sold at 100 stores in the state. Chandler says the guide has seen 160% growth in its revenues over the last three years; it currently retails for $20.

Chandler says that while there are online resources for green energy companies, there aren't other online places where consumers can search for any kind of eco-friendly operation. Categories in the directory include food and dining, travel and transportation, health and outdoor living, and style and personal care. "People seem pleased with it, but we need to let more people know it's there," she says of the new directory.

To be included, businesses must first demonstrate they are more environmentally friendly than the competition, says Chandler. Current pricing for a basic online listing, which includes a location, contact information and brief description, is $95 for one year, while a premium listing is $225 a year. Premium listings allow businesses to upload logos and PDFs of menus, for instance, embed videos and tag themselves in multiple categories. Chandler hopes to grow the online directory from its current roster of 250 businesses to 500 by July 1.

The new website also features online coupons, an event calendar and a database of sustainable-living articles generated by her and her staff of four. Chandler says the company has recently launched a series of interviews with green-business experts, like Joe Walsh, owner of Green Clean Maine, and Richard Burbank, president and CEO of Evergreen Home Performance.

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