Mom and the Story of Hulafrog

We’re highlighting small businesses from around the country as nominated by you, our readers. If your favorite small business is using Twitter to communicate with customers, let us know about it @fbsmallbiz with the hashtag #mysbc, and it may be featured as an upcoming Small Business Spotlight.

Small Business Spotlight: Hulafrog

Who: Sherry Lombardi, @Hulafrog

What: Website for local businesses and family events

When: September 2010

Where: Red Bank, N.J.

How: When Hulafrog co-founders Sherry Lombardi and Kerry Bowbliss moved to New Jersey, they would talk to other moms to find out what was going on locally for their kids. Local events are often difficult to find, Lombardi said, and Hulafrog was created to give parents a comprehensive source for family activities and local businesses.

After launching with a site for the Red Bank, N.J. area, Hulafrog has expanded to 25 markets across the country. Hulafrog is in the middle of its first round of outside funding and has plans for further expansion.

“We wished there was a better way to find out what was going on in the community,” Lombardi said. “Hulafrog provides centralized access for families. It solves a problem for parents.”

Hulafrog has quickly become a success in helping parents find activities for their families. According to Lombardi, 89% of parents who visit Hulafrog actually go to an event, and 82% contact a business.

Lombardi called Hulafrog a “digital-age Avon” because of its employee model. Hulafrog recruits and hires publishers to manage each local Hulafrog site. Publishers first go through Hulafrog University, a three-month training period, to learn about Hulafrog, ad sales and more. She also explained that most publishers are like the co-founders—moms who left professional lives behind to raise a family, but have the education and experience to manage a website.

“We’re tapping a very unique market. They’re very educated, and some are former executives who are now stay-at-home moms,” Lombardi said.

Quote from the owner: “We’re really connected to local businesses that deal with families, like restaurants and pediatricians. It’s about making sure the site is complete and comprehensive.”