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March 11, 2009 > Free publicity for Fremont businesses

Free publicity for Fremont businesses

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By courtesy of Kim Marshall

Yes, you heard right. The City gives Fremont business owners a place to market their products and services for free.

As part of the "Shop Fremont!" campaign to promote shopping and dining locally, coupons from participating Fremont businesses are posted on www.ShopFremont.biz at no cost. The web site received over 3,500 hits in the past year, and numbers are expected to increase as people try to be more cost conscious.

Businesses such as Learning Express and Hubbard Iron Doors report an increase in customers through the program. "I contacted Kim on a Wednesday and my advertisement was up and running by that Friday," said Reeta Mishra, owner of Curves Fremont Civic Center. "It was as simple as that, and best of all it is free. So ShopFremont.biz is definitely good news for all business owners.

"It is physically, mentally, and financially challenging for many small businesses to advertise these days," she added. "However, it is something all businesses must do, especially during these uncertain economic periods. This way small businesses can focus their efforts more on providing an optimal experience for their customer, rather than worrying about their advertisement budget."

The program began in 2007 as part of a "Shop Fremont!" campaign to remind residents that shopping within city limits supports local businesses and helps fund city services through sales tax dollars. ShopFremont.biz started with 37 participating businesses. Now about 50 participate in the coupon program, offering a wide range of customer discounts.

"There are good discounts on it for everybody," said Maggie Tsan, Business Manager, SeekZen Systems Outsourced IT Consulting.

The California Association for Local Economic Development presented the Grand Prize Award of Excellence to the City for the marketing campaign, which also included "Shop Fremont!" shopping bags provided free of charge to local businesses.

"We feel this has been a successful program encouraging residents to shop locally," said Kim Marshall of the city's Office of Economic Development. "In fact, we still have more shopping bags for businesses interested in using them." Quantities are limited. Contact the Office of Economic Development at (510) 284-4020 or econdev@ci.fremont.ca.us to request bags.

Participants can take advantage of free design services to create a coupon or provide an existing one. Fremont business owners wishing to participate can e-mail a JPG or PDF coupon to kmarshall@ci.fremont.ca.us or mail one to Marshall at Fremont Office of Economic Development, 3300 Capitol Ave., Bldg. A, Fremont, CA 94538.

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