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The Conference Room

Good Sales Just Around Corner for Local Merchants, Says Retail Startup

The cold winter was filled with chilly sales data – but one entrepreneur says retailers will soon have their day in the sun.

“Essentially I see, for the merchants we’re going after -- they really are starting to see things pick up,” says co-founder Kara Kaplan, despite March’s disappointing retail numbers. is an online marketplace where consumers can purchase digital gift cards for local businesses. Co-founder Jen Morris says the company launched a beta version of the site in November 2011, and re-launched in 2012 in Chicago and New York City.

Kaplan says the site is targeted toward local businesses that may not be huge online, but want to have a digital presence. She adds that a lot of neighborhood shops were being presented with discount deal opportunities (on sites such as Groupon or Living Social) that weren’t really working out for them.

“When you give someone a gift, it’s obviously a reflection on you, and you don’t want to be known as a cheap gift giver or a tacky gift giver,” Kaplan told FBN’s Jeff Flock.

Despite the slow-moving economy, Morris says has been able to flourish, because they know their potential target.

“We offer more than just gift cards, we do the marketing for them that they don’t have to do,” adds Morris.