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November 9, 2018

Startup goes digital to help Rangeley businesses keep more shopping dollars local

Courtesy / Rangeley Trading Co.
Courtesy / Rangeley Trading Co.
Kate deLutio, Rangeley Trading Co.'s founder, displays sample gift certificates that are among the more than 20 businesses now listed on her new innovative website designed to keep more shopping dollars within the community.

Rangeley Trading Co.'s early adopters

Business listed on Rangeley Trading Co.s website are: Alpacaville, Alpine Shop of Rangeley, Backwoods Clothing & Custom Embroidery, Bald Mountain Camps, Bald Mountain Camps Guide Service, Blue Orchid, Classic Provisions, Ecopelagicon, Forks in the Air, Gingerbread House, Just Add Water Floating Camps, Lakeside Convenience & Marina, Mooselook Guided Adventures, Mr. Sweet Tooth, Oquossoc Grocery, Rangeley Health and Wellness, Rangeley Lakes Trails Center, Rangeley Region Lakes Cruises & Kayaking, Saddleview Farm, Sarge's Sports Pub & Grub, Seaberg Gallery, and The Shed.

DeLutio says these businesses are simply those which first responded to her invitation to join the website, adding that she expects more businesses to sign on as word spreads about the new website.

"The more variety and selection we can create on the website, the more users we'll attract, which benefits everyone. I really appreciate that these businesses are willing to try something new."

An innovative new website launched by Rangeley Trading Co. is being hailed by the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce as a perfect showcase for local businesses that will help keep more shopping dollars within the community.

Kate deLutio, Rangeley Trading Co.'s founder, says the idea of creating a website that makes it easy for people to shop locally, even when they're online, developed over several months of talking with local business owners.

"Many small businesses have a very limited online presence," she said in a news release sent to Mainebiz. "They wish they could do more, but they don't have the time. And, frankly, often it just doesn't make sense to create an e-commerce website for a small number of sales."

At the same time, she added, small local businesses know their customers are shopping online, and that gift cards are becoming more and more popular.

That's where the new website comes into the picture. In addition to highlighting businesses and organizations under different headings — activities, dining, lodging, shopping, men, women, kids — it also offers gift certificates for more than 20 local businesses.

They include restaurants, shops, convenience stores, the local gym, the trail center and even a few Maine Guides, deLutio said. In most cases, the certificates can be sent instantly by email or text, or as a physical certificate. A few businesses offer gift cards exclusively by mail.

Rangeley Trading Co. handles all the logistics of posting certificates online, accepting payments and processing orders. Businesses can list their gift certificates for free and are charged an advertising fee when a sale goes through.

Karen Ogulnick, executive director of the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce, said she's optimistic about the website's potential to keep Rangeley on people's minds as a venue for shopping even when they are away.

"The website helps showcase everything this region has to offer, from great restaurants and shops to boating, fishing, hunting, and snow sports," she said in the news release. "I think it will be popular with many of our seasonal residents. I can see them using it to buy gifts for their friends and family."

Statistica.com estimates that U.S. consumers will purchase $160 billion in gift cards this year, with many of those purchases happening online.

"That's nearly $500 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. — it's staggering," said deLutio, adding that Rangeley Trading Co.'s new website is now giving small businesses an easy, affordable way to compete for those sales.

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