CorkBird Bolsters Its ‘Buy Local’ Mission

by RaeAnne Marsh

CorkBird was officially launched at the end in February of this year with the aim to help people understand what was going on around them and get them out into the community and interacting with local businesses and organizations. Explains founder Matthew Bedwell, “The way the app works is, you can click your current location or type in a neighborhood or city. With any of those, the app identifies a specific point, whether that’s where your feet are or the center of that neighborhood or city. You then select a radius (from 1 mile to 25) and it will show you everything posted within that radius from the location you selected.”

“Be with humans” was the motto. But that had to change with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. While still focusing on helping people engage, like going out to a local restaurant, CorkBird has modified its mission to focus on supporting local businesses through these trying times. And rather than only encouraging businesses to use the free app, CorkBird decided to support local businesses directly by buying $50,000 in gift cards from 50 different local businesses.

“We took $50,000 out of our marketing budget and bought the gift cards directly,” says Bedwell. “We had no sponsors and no deals with any business we bought from. I actually drove around to everyone and bought them myself over the course of a week. With everything going on with COVID-19 and its impact on local businesses, we thought that many could use the cash.” 

Supporting local businesses had been a central pillar as they built the app, so, says Bedwell, “We thought, ‘Why not put our money where our mouth is and help them directly?’ It was a risk because it was the majority of our marketing budget to build our initial audience but even if it did not work there are worse things to do than spending $50,000 on awesome local businesses. This particular give away goes through the end of the year and if we are successful, we would love to make this type of giveaway, buying directly from local to give to users, a regular occurrence.”

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