'Shop Local' aims to boost business, shopping


A new program to connect shoppers from Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Woodside and Atherton with local businesses is launching today at

The new website — a directory of nearly all businesses in Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Woodside — features profiles of companies, special offers and coupons, restaurant menus, photos, maps, event announcements and more.

The program is a collaboration of The Almanac, the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce, Hometown Peninsula and the city of Menlo Park. Its aim is to raise awareness of the products and services offered by local merchants and their importance to the vitality of the community.

More than 400 Menlo Park businesses have already created their Shop Menlo Park profiles or posted information in preparation of the launch of the site.

"We are excited to launch what will be the most comprehensive and interactive local business directory available anywhere," said Tom Gibboney, publisher of The Almanac.

"While there are many other attempts at business directories out there, none offers either residents or business owners the breadth of features of," Mr. Gibboney said. "And none is supported by the marketing reach of the local newspaper and the dominant community website."

With, any business physically located in Menlo Park, Portola Valley or Woodside can create a free profile, including photos, product offerings, coupons, links to its website, gift certificates and much more. Businesses can promote their special events, create additional Web pages and sell merchandise online. Restaurants can upload their menus. A verification process helps to ensure the greatest possible accuracy of the content.

Local residents can search for businesses by name or category, display profiles with maps and contact information, browse special offers of all merchants, buy gift certificates, and post comments about individual businesses.

New offers or updates to a business profile can be quickly spotted through a news feed on the site.

A multimedia marketing campaign will promote through The Almanac, on, and in Express, the news digest e-mailed to more than 4,000 people each day.

In addition to, similar sites are being launched in Palo Alto ( and Mountain View ( Users of any of the sites can choose to search businesses in the other communities as well.

The "shop local" movement is gaining visibility and supporters throughout the nation, as studies have shown that communities benefit more from dollars spent close to home. In addition to keeping sales-tax revenue in the community to support the schools and other programs, 68 percent of the money spent at a locally owned business remains in the community, compared to only 43 percent for national chain store purchases, research has shown.

"This initiative will not only help connect local residents with local businesses, it will help inform residents on why locally owned businesses are so important to the character, attractiveness and economic vitality of the community," said Clark Kepler, president and founder of Hometown Peninsula, one of the sponsors of and an alliance of locally owned businesses.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Hope that means more businesses will cater to families with affordable clothing, foods and services. I don't shop Menlo because I can't get everything I need at a fair price.

Like this comment
Posted by Janny
a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Sep 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

I would welcome this but the biggest problem with shopping in Menlo Park is how few spaces there are with those ridiculous half car length crosses in between spaces & how horrible it is with the fact that the parking police give you a horrible ticket if you are two inches in the "cross" or 5 min utes over your allotted time--makes me choose Palo Alto any chance I get. So many businesses in MP say they have complained vigorously to the powers that be with no changes. That really should be addressed!

Like this comment
Posted by Jack
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 23, 2010 at 9:01 am

Now that the Almanac is deeply involved in a movement that supports "local" it may be difficult for them to cover stories that are impartial to "chain" businesses.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Be the first to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Peek inside the fine-dining Selby's, opening in Redwood City this summer
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 4,710 views

If you do nothing else, do These Three Things
By Sherry Listgarten | 22 comments | 1,891 views

Premarital and Couples: "You're Not Listening to Me!" may mean "I don't feel heard."
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,269 views

Lentil Brownies
By Laura Stec | 4 comments | 379 views

Finding Balance
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 225 views


The Almanac Readers' Choice ballot is here

It's time to decide what local business is worthy of the title "The Almanac Readers' Choice" — and you get to decide! Cast your ballot online. Voting ends May 27th. Stay tuned for the results in the July 17th issue of The Almanac.