LANETT, Ala. (WTVM) - The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of small businesses having a website.
Chambers County leaders have come up with a new way to help local businesses create an online presence and stay afloat.
Thirteen-year-old Jaquerious Barnes is a Chambers County entrepreneur.
“I started off having a bake sale in the summer,” he said. “The bake sale did so well that I decided to become a professional baker, and now I make custom cakes, wedding cakes and different kinds of desserts and pastries.”
The eighth grader recently took his business, Jay’s Bakery, online, joining 13 other Chambers County businesses who have created pages on the new “Shop Where You Live” e-commerce site launched by the Chambers County Development Authority through an Iowa-based company.
“I am working on it,” Barnes said.
According to Development Authority officials, the pandemic was the catalyst for the site as businesses saw an urgent need to find new avenues to reach customers and sell their goods and services in different ways and not through their brick and mortar locations.
“With the onset of COVID and people being very leary of going into businesses or wanting to do pick up, it allows [businesses] to do that along with expanding their customer base,” said Kimberly Carter of the Chambers County Development Authority.
The e-commerce site, which the development authority has dubbed the Amazon of small businesses, is free for businesses to use and create a page.
Officials said businesses can create that online presence that’s so important, especially with the pandemic.
Carter said offering this site is a way for them to take action and help Chambers County businesses stay afloat.
“It was vastly important for us to make sure they stand tall and succeed,” she said.
Barnes said he’s excited to see the impacts of the site on Jay’s Bakery.
“I want to be able to gain new customers, and one day my dream is to have my own storefront,” he said.
According to the Development Authority, the site can host up to 400 businesses.