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The West Volusia Beacon news organization is launching two online platforms designed to help local businesses through the COVID-19 crisis — and beyond.

Immediately, Shop Small Volusia, at www.shopsmallvolusia.com will provide shoppers who want to support local businesses with an easy and secure way to buy gift certificates. There will be no upfront costs to the hard-hit businesses, many of which have been forced to close temporarily.

“The desire in our community to help these independent and very special shops survive is strong, and Shop Small Volusia makes it easy to do that,” Beacon publisher Barb Shepherd said.

Long-term, Shop Small Volusia will expand beyond gift certificates to further the MainStreet DeLand Association goal of helping Downtown DeLand businesses sell more merchandise online, a key to success that has helped many shops survive slow spells in local shopping.

“This is a very important time for our Downtown businesses. The Beacon has found a way to bring them all together to make it easy for you to support them,” MainStreet Association Executive Director Wayne Carter said.

He added, “We have been encouraging merchants to expand their online presence for a while. The Beacon has created an opportunity for all merchants to have a much broader reach.”

The second platform, Volusia Eatabout, at menus.beacononlinenews.com is designed to help the hungry consumer who wants to order take-out food, but isn’t sure of the dozens of restaurants’ offerings, hours and ordering requirements, and doesn’t have time to track down all that information on the Internet.

Volusia Eatabout brings together actual menus from area restaurants, along with ordering information — all on an easy-to-navigate web platform.

After the COVID-19 crisis has passed, Volusia Eatabout will continue to serve as a restaurant guide to West Volusia’s vast culinary offerings.

“I’m very proud of The Beacon team for putting these solutions together so quickly to help our local businesses. We’ve worked hard to keep the costs and price point low, so even the very-hard-hit local businesses can get on board and take advantage of it,” Shepherd said.

Any businesses interested in more information about either program may contact The Beacon, either by phone at 386-734-4622, or by email to adsales@beacononlinenews.com.


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