Tom Keighley

Bdaily talks to hyper-local entrepreneur Dan Bond

Bdaily recently caught up with Dan Bond, the man behind an innovative new website that looks to plug a gap in one particular local community.

Morpeth Central aims to act as a hub for the Northumberland town of Morpeth, a place for community, customers and commerce to converge.

Dan, a business development and presentation expert by trade, had the initial idea when he first moved to Morpeth, and thinks his breed of hyper local site could be a cut above.

He says: “I moved to Morpeth and bought a house that I wanted to develop. Looking for trades people I came across a number that were pretending to be within the locality, but were actually based in the likes of Amble or Rothbury. It was difficult to gauge where the services were coming from.

“At the same time, I had just moved and I wanted to get more involved with the community, but I couldn’t really find the way in. There really wasn’t a resource for identifying what was in Morpeth, for locals.”

Realising the potential, Dan developed Morpeth Central with a key balance that he felt was missing from other similar hyper local destinations.

“I wanted to start something that catered for locals. So many other websites were aimed at tourists, or simply held hoards of advertising. What I recognised was needed was a mix of commercial and social to make it work. A lot of existing sites seemed to me to be “mock local” and don’t really hone in on what the community is about.”

As such, the site features a social diary, detailing events and regular fixtures for locals; a discount diary, with update on the latest offers in the town; a thorough business directory for businesses based in Morpeth; and a classified ads section.

To complement these resources, there are also pages on ‘going out’, ‘staying in’, ‘parks’, and ‘families’, that will incorporate more editorial content. To fuel this, Dan has appointed a community administrator, mum of three Claire Dyer, who will gather information and engage purely on a community basis and not commercially.

One of the driving aims of Morpeth Central is to bolster the town’s trading, and Dan is passionate about finding means for market towns like Morpeth to hold their own against the likes of Tesco and Amazon, as well as some of the more aggressively marketed deals sites.

He argues that small businesses need a viable platform on which to promote their services.

“I think businesses are put off a lot of other forms of local advertising. Take Yell for instance, if you were a business that wanted to promote yourself across Amble, Morpeth and Rothbury, you’d have to take out advertising across three different items, and that’s an expense many small businesses don’t want.”

And the Morpeth Central format could soon be exported to other regional towns, as Dan’s enthusiasm to facilitate the community extends beyond his own doorstep. You can check out Morpeth Central here.

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