Chamber of Commerce launches ‘Explore Lebanon’ app

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

The Lebanon Chamber of Commerce just rolled out an app dedicated to promoting local businesses, events and entertainment.
“Explore Lebanon” features links to helpful resources (such as transportation and the Lebanon Downtown Association), links to the city’s parks and trails, a listing of the chamber’s business members and a calendar of events.
It was the chamber’s executive director, Rebecca Grizzle, who initiated the idea.
“When I first took this job, I dreamed of having the Lebanon business community and the Lebanon community at-large have its own app,” she said.
She eventually found an app that she thought fit well with what she wanted, and it had a good price point, too. It turned out the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce was also considering the exact same app. Both chambers were able to negotiate a better price for setting up the app because they went to the developer together. Additionally, the Laura Gillott Home Team agreed to sponsor both apps, which covers the cost of the yearly maintenance fee.
“That made a big difference and made it financially feasible for both of us to be able to have the app,” Grizzle said.
The app is free for users, and businesses that want to be found within in it must either be a chamber member or pay for a spot. The free listings include a pin on a map and a link to the business’ website, but for $10 a month, it can display its logo, write a custom description and upload video.
The chamber is still working out some kinks, but Grizzle is already pleased with the app.
“I’m most excited that people will be able to access the business they’re looking for electronically, and the calendar, what’s going on in Lebanon,” she said.
A source at the Boulder Falls Inn has told her that many of its 2,200 guests a month often ask where to find trails, so Grizzle believes the app will become a more efficient way to share that information.

How it works: Users install the Explore Lebanon app through their favorite app store, or scan a QR code found on window clings and coasters soon to be distributed to local businesses.
The app’s home screen includes four boxes:
Explore Lebanon shows a satellite map of Oregon with pinpoints of local registered businesses, as well as a list of categories. Selecting a category filters out registered businesses on the map for easier browsing.
Community Calendar pulls up an easy-to-read list of upcoming events for the next three weeks. Anyone can add a family-friendly, legitimate event to the chamber website calendar for free. Once it’s loaded on the calendar, the app automatically pulls events for its listings.
Parks and Trails features a user-friendly, visual list of parks and trails. The park selections are linked to the City of Lebanon website for more information. The trail selections are linked to the Build Lebanon Trails website.
Resources pulls up a user-friendly, visual list of resources linking to the City of Lebanon, city transportation, Lebanon School District, Linn County and the Lebanon Downtown Association.
Personally, Grizzle likes that she can use the app to easily browse the restaurant list when deciding on a place to eat.
“It digitizes our directory as a chamber, and I love that,” she said.