One Astoria resident has created an app that encourages people to explore a variety of neighborhood businesses while receiving perks like food or gym classes at a discounted price.
Christy Aborn and her business partner Brock James officially launched The Neighborhood this month. Users who sign up get eight perks a month – they range from appetizers at local restaurants to a yoga class, and each perk has a $15 to $20 value. It costs $20 a month to access the perks and the businesses change every month.
Aborn, who lives in Astoria, and James first thought of the idea one year ago. They envisioned it as a resource for both local businesses and residents and began to speak with companies near their job in the Financial District. At first, the duo handed out booklets with vouchers that could be redeemed at local businesses but realized an app would be easier to monetize and scale.
The Neighborhood Company was officially launched in Astoria because Aborn, 25, loved the strong community feel of the neighborhood, she said.
“It would just be great to give back to the community,”she said. “I’ve never lived in a place that’s so locally driven and everyone is about helping each other.”
In March, app users receive a number of perks including an hour of pool and pitcher of beer at Break Bar & Billiards, hair treatment for men or women at Gigi Salon, a beginners class at Yoga Agora, two brunch drinks at The Ditty and more.
“The local business love it because were such a new company [that] we don’t charge anything,” Aborn said. “Our whole thing is give back to the community. We’re free marketing for the businesses.”
According to Aborn, users who visit each business end up spending three times more than the perk itself. The duo also uses targeted marketing and since many of the users live or work in the neighborhood they become repeat customers.
Membership will be capped at about 500 people and Aborn hopes to launch the app in a new neighborhood every time The Neighborhood hits that cap. Additional markets will include Williamsburg and DUMBO in Brooklyn and the duo aims to launch in 10 neighborhoods in the next two years.
Though Aborn has ambitions to expand the app worldwide, she doesn’t think she’ll ever leave Astoria.
“I’m probably never going to leave this place,” she said. “I loved the feel and the vibe here. Talking to these small business owners, it’s really cool to see the community grow and develop.”
To download the app on iTunes or Google Play, click here.