Welcome! If you are new to our community or just stopping by to learn more about what we do, we are happy to have you! Visit our “how it works” page to learn how we work with local community and economic development organizations to help small businesses thrive.
If you aren’t familiar with our origin story, we are born of small business owners ourselves. Our founders, Cherie and Rob Edilson were at an in-person market on a snowy day in 2016, where very few customers had materialized due to weather. Cherie had experienced selling online through her own website and Amazon, but also relied heavily on revenue from in-person markets. After the disappointing market, it occured to her there had to be a better way to help small businesses sell to patrons in their own community without being reliant on in-person markets. With that, the first prototype of a community based online marketplace was born.
In 2020, Member Marketplace Inc expanded to include custom white label websites, Shop Where I Live branded websites and continues to evolve offering more services geared towards economic development organizations. Our marketplace options offer a turnkey solution for organizations looking to quickly launch an e-commerce platform, as well as fully customizable white label sites branded to resonate with your community, giving visitors a glimpse into your city or state without having to physically be there. We now supplement our websites with strategic planning, marketing support, and have expanded our small businesses support and development services.
Over the years, we’ve continued to invest in new technologies, learned more about engaging our small businesses, and grown from servicing partner sites in Iowa, to now 34 communities and statewide sites from the east and west coasts. At our core, we are still designed to serve small businesses. For example, unlike other e-commerce platform providers, we have real people who answer phone and email support questions. Even through our evolution we remain centered on a people-first, community-minded, collaborative partnership model.
In this blog, you can expect to see musings on economic development, shopping locally, e-commerce, small business development, national and global economic trends, and what we’ve seen and learned as service providers to small businesses across the United States. We want to welcome you to our community, and provide insight into what we’re observing through our service to both small businesses and organizations with the core focus of building up their local economies.