December 4, 2020

Acting quickly to help island businesses survive the economic impacts of COVID-19, the BI Rotary Club granted $15,000 to the BI Downtown Association and BI Chamber of Commerce to build a unique shopping website. Created to showcase the best of Bainbridge by pulling together representative items from island retailers, artists, artisans, and more, The General Store gives an overview of what can be found in the stores, studios and workshops across the island.

The Club announced the support and creation of an exciting new site….The Bainbridge Island General Store.

This will be a new website making shopping locally as simple as shopping on Amazon. The new url will be https://bainbridgeislandgeneralstore.com/.

The Rotary has committed $15,000 to fund the site development for the first 90 days of operation. The Bainbridge Island Downtown Association and the Chamber of Commerce will take it from there.

Pictured here left to right is Charlie Averill, BI Rotary COVID Commitee, BI Rotary President Marina Cofer-Wildsmith presenting the check to Natalie
Rodriquez, BI Downtown Association and Kevin Dwyer, BI Chamber of Commerce.

Our community has the will to support small local businesses, but it needs a resource like this to identify what and where gifts/services/experiences are available.

This website will feature local products and links to retailers who offer those products. For example, a shopper could search for apparel. Results would show what is available in the community, whether it is a hoodie from Bainbridge Brewers, a rain hat from  Bay, Hay & Feed or a scarf from Heart.

Products will not be purchased on The General Store website itself, but rather, shoppers will be directed to the retailers’ websites where those products are sold. The only requirement for retailers is that they have a City of Bainbridge Island business license, a Bainbridge Island address and a functioning website.

Similar projects have been successfully launched in Bend, Oregon, Pioneer Square in Seattle, and Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

This project intends to build a new platform that would extend beyond shopping for Christmas. The ultimate goal is for it to be a resource for island organizations of all kinds with links to their websites. Tom Lindsley, Co-chair of the Rotary Club’s COViID Response Committee said, ” This project is intended to build community by the community with a total commitment to the island economy.”

Beyond the initial 90 days of operations, the General Store intends to expand to more businesses and partner sites. It plans an educational branch for e-learning and workshops, direct B2B connections, promotions and marketing efforts through social media, and extensions such as local delivery.