Darien resident Denise El-Tayyeb was looking for a way to encourage people to shop in town and at the same time raise money for the schools. When she came across the website Shop Chesterfield First , she knew she had her answer.
"When I saw this website based down in Virginia, I got chills. I thought the idea was amazing," she says. She immediately called the owners and set up a deal to create her own site, Shop the Gold Coast , for this area. She and her family have been working on it since the end of November.
The site works by promoting local businesses to sign up and list specials and provide coupons. On the first and third week of each month, various establishments around town will have fund-raisers to promote local schools. Customers simply print out a coupon and take it to the store, and a percentage of the money they spend will be donated to the school of their choice.
El-Tayyeb says the focus is to help the local economy by getting people to buy in town. "Local spending leads to more local jobs, which in turn leads to more money that can go back into the schools," she says.
The mother of four has had deep roots in the community for a number of years and was looking for an incentive for parents to shop locally. "I know how hard it can be for people to write out really big donation checks for the schools. Everything is contingent on having money to spend," she says.
El-Tayyeb has been going around to different towns in Fairfield County and getting businesses, including Heights Pizza and Tasti D-Lite , to join the site. She says all the businesses have been enthusiastic about the idea. "Everywhere I go I meet people who say the idea is amazing and brilliant," she says. She is now working on getting the word out to shoppers so they can bring money to local businesses and schools.
"I know that if we rally together, we really can move mountains."
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