Star-Tribune – Veeneman Makes Progress With Entrepreneurial “Go Buy Local”
Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY, Star Tribune
Updated: December 13, 2014
It’s taken four years, but Bill Veeneman, the former Target and U.S. Bank veteran, has gained traction with his Go Buy Local (www.gobuylocal.com).
Go Buy Local partners with 950 local businesses in 24 Twin Cities-area and Western Wisconsin communities through multichannel marketing designed to build customer awareness and loyalty while generating merchant donations for local schools and charities that are chosen by the customers.
“The execution (and scale) has finally gone to the level I had hoped we would achieve,” said Veeneman, “Click on the ads. Download the offer. Select a school or cause. The transaction will generate from 50 cents to $100 (through realty agents). We’ve been able to finally achieve our dream of doing it in real time.”
Veeneman, 65, is an upbeat, chuckle-at-himself guy who with other investors has put $4.5 million into a venture designed to provide big-company marketing tools to small merchants and other businesses.
And he can see positive cash flow ahead for the 12-employee Minneapolis company as it continues to build business partners and transactions.
Veeneman calls it “social gifting” because participating merchants make a gift to the school or charity of the customer’s choice on every transaction through Go Buy Local. And the software automatically collects and accumulates the totals.
“We are writing checks every week from $50 to $200 to individual schools and nonprofit causes,” Veeneman said. “The customer gets the offer and a donation to reward them for their patronage when the customer brings in the offer in print or on their phone or tablet. It builds loyalty and recognition (for the business) by supporting local schools and causes.”
“And we’ve woven in the social media capability to notify their members of say the “DeLaSalle High School community, to say, why not use Go Buy Local to help raise money!”