Qponify, a student-run business on the Hill that began this January, seeks to promote local businesses to the College community. Jonathan Sommer ’14 and Brandon Rivard ’14 formed the business as a way to help students find more local restaurants and promote a relationship between the College and the Waterville community.
Sommer said that Qponify’s goal is “to help promote local restaurants that are not doing as well as they should be doing in a college town.” The organizers also see the business as a way for the College to improve its relationship with the Waterville community by helping the local economy and by helping students on the Hill change their perceptions of Waterville.
Though they share similar goals in terms of community, Qponify and the Colby-Waterville Alliance differ in focus. Qponify is specifically geared toward restaurants. The Colby-Waterville Alliance has broader goals of focusing on activism, social issues, service activities and educational opportunities. However, both groups seek to make students on the Hill better members of the Waterville community and prove to students that Waterville has places for College students to enjoy.
The business is organized via its Facebook page, and newsletters are sent out to its e-mail list. Qponify uses these social media to advertise for restaurants and offer deals and promotions to students on the Hill in order to motivate students to get off campus. “We do not just want to focus on deals, but [promote] businesses that need the increased traffic,” Rivard said.
According to the founders, the idea for the business began as a result of their involvement in the Colby Consulting Club. As they began looking at local businesses, they found that many were not doing as well as they could be.
Sommer and Rivard sent out a survey to students in order to gauge how frequently a typical student goes to these businesses. The results that they found were even more surprising than they had expected. “For the average restaurant in Waterville, 60 percent of Colby had never heard of it and, of those who had heard of it, 75 percent had never been,” Sommer said.
Though the business only began in January, Qponify has already published two newsletters, and its Facebook page has over 350 “likes.” The publicity has also begun to benefit the promoted restaurants. Cancun, the Korner Store and Buen Apetito have already told the organizers that they have seen an increase in business.