About Us

Image3Here at ShopOnMain, we believe small businesses are the backbone of America. That the dreamers that start and run them are heroes to be celebrated.

Small businesses serve our communities and employ our citizens. They’re real people doing the things that make this country great. ShopOnMain is a new tool, built just for them.

We’re specialists at this thing called Internet Marketing. We cut our teeth with the internet as it went from being a novelty to something no business can afford to ignore.

How can it be best used to connect people with the businesses that can best serve them? To connect real businesses with the customers they want to serve?

Until now, there’s been no real shopping experience online. It’s all about buying. Point, click, done. But what about the joy of spending a Saturday afternoon wandering through real stores, discovering things you didn’t know you needed? Where is that?

And how do the small businesses that line America’s Main Streets connect with the online shopper? How do they find people that aren’t already searching for them? How do they sell products in a way that lets them connect with and grow a customer base? So far, this doesn’t exist.

Which is why we created ShopOnMain. We’re building a solution to the challenges above. It’s a big goal, but it’s one we think is crucial to the survival and growth of something unique and special: the relationship between small businesses and the people they serve.

What Are We Building Here?

A Brand New Online Shopping Experience

3The internet has revolutionized the way we buy things. Never before in human history has it been so easy and convenient to find and buy things we know we want.

Still, there’s something missing.

The internet hasn’t (yet) provided an enjoyable shopping experience. You know, the kind you have when you explore a store you’ve never been to before, maybe on a lazy Saturday. When you just browse, wander… and suddenly discover something new and wonderful that you didn’t know you couldn’t live without.

An Experience That’s Good For Communities, Too

Internet buying has (so far) had one drawback – the convenience of buying online has made it hard for local stores to compete. People who would gladly “shop local” aren’t given the opportunity because the bigger websites don’t like to spotlight the individual sellers on their platforms. And local stores just don’t always show up when you’re searching for items they might carry, because search results are weighted in favor of larger websites.

Until now.

ShopOnMain: Explore, Discover, Connect

So ShopOnMain has some pretty big goals:

1. We’re building a “Destination Shopping Experience For Your Screen.” No matter where you are (and any time of the day or night) you’ll be able to explore and discover great local shops all over the country.

2. We’re building a platform that connects people. Business owners who are passionate about what they sell (and who they sell to) love providing personalized service. Here, you’ll discover how it feels to be “spoiled” by that kind of service.

3. We’re giving local communities a “level playing field.” People will no longer have to choose between the convenience of buying online and the good feeling of supporting local communities. Because purchases made here don’t benefit some multi-billion-dollar corporation. Every single one goes to a real business that supports it’s local community by providing jobs and paying local taxes. It’s a win-win all around.

Will You Be A Part Of This Revolution?

Whether you’re a shopper who can’t wait to discover new stores, or a business owner who can’t wait to connect with new shoppers, we hope you’ll join us!

Click on the search bar up top to begin exploring the shops in different towns. And if you’re a store owner who’d like to be listed, visit our Merchant’s Page here.

Happy Shopping!

The ShopOnMain Team

So who are the people behind the ShopOnMain website?

Meet CEO Joseph Smith

SmithsJoseph Smith says he’s always felt like a square peg in a world full of round holes. The son of a Kentucky farmer, his drive to succeed took him to Vanderbilt University to study Mechanical Engineering.

He quickly found a passion for start-up businesses. To this day, he regales the team at ShopOnMain with stories of his time at the earliest days of Amazon – “when we worked for peanuts, slept in the breakroom and had dogs running around the place.”

Joe struck out on his own in 2004 as a consultant, eventually forming JJSmith Marketing. It was through that company that he assembled the current ShopOnMain team. As this group helped clients succeed with online marketing, they began to see a pattern: businesses were struggling in an online environment that sometimes made it seem the deck was stacked against them.

“We saw there was a need,” Joe says, “for small to medium sized businesses – the kind you see on every Main Street – to have a web presence. But as they tried to come online they were facing tough challenges. They could spend time and resources on their own website, only to see it sit there with no shoppers.”

“Or, they could list their products on existing ecommerce sites. There, they might make sales but typically aren’t allowed to build a relationship with those customers. In many cases those customers don’t even realize who they purchased from. Businesses need loyal, repeat shoppers in order to grow. The only ones getting repeat business on the current platforms are the websites themselves – not the individual businesses that make them work.”
And so, ShopOnMain was born.

For Joe, the absolute best part of starting companies like JJSmith Marketing and now ShopOnMain is that both are designed to be virtual workplaces, allowing the entire team to work from home. In Joe’s case, home is a farm outside Bardstown, KY that he shares with his wife, Julie, and their two children: 12 year old Andrew and 8 year old Alexandra.

“Most of the businesses who are or will be on ShopOnMain have one thing in common with those of us building it,” he says. “We do this because we want to be there for our families. We want to build something we can pass down to them. We also want to be with them for the journey, after all the journey is life.”


 

Meet Software Architect Matt Crowe

10931199_1126687627346620_9210360654323832487_nMatthew Crowe could be working from anywhere. The coder behind ShopOnMain has a passion for travel that has taken him all over the world – most frequently to Central and South America. In fact, a good chunk of the software the website runs on (which Matt built completely from scratch) was written from Colombia and Nicaragua.

Which is no small feat. The software Matt built from the ground up includes a secure shopping cart system with a shipping component that allows businesses to print shipping labels and generate tracking emails for customers with a single click. So businesses that sell products on ShopOnMain don’t have to download orders and upload tracking information as they do on other platforms.

Matt studied Manufacturing Engineering in college, but switched careers to find something more enjoyable – and flexible. His travel addiction got off to a good start in college where he spent a year studying in Bogota, Columbia. Fluent in Spanish, he also worked in Matamoros, Mexico in the manufacturing of airbags and steering wheels.

But you can’t do your manufacturing job from anywhere. You can, however, build software anywhere you have an internet connection.

Today, Matt’s travel entourage includes wife Misty and their 16-month-old daughter, Cora. When they’re at home in Ohio they enjoy playing board games – Matt has over 100 board games in his collection.


 

Meet Marketing & Communications Writer Lisa Packer

12274428_10206306315230071_4081201172397060448_nLisa Packer has always been a writer. Whether it was diaries and journals as a young girl, or poems and short stories that were published anonymously in her High School paper, she’s always been putting pen to paper.

As a young mother in the mid-2000’s, Lisa discovered she could use her writing talent to help businesses grow – and build a career working from home. By the end of that decade she’d met Joseph Smith – first as a freelance copywriter for JJSmith Marketing, then as a full time member of the team.

Besides working from home, her favorite part of the job has been the opportunity to learn and grow. She’s participated in some of the most exclusive training workshops and conferences in the Internet Marketing world, and loves putting that knowledge to use to help small businesses succeed.

“The most exciting thing, to me, about ShopOnMain is that it’s giving locally owned businesses a chance to fight back. Up till now, the Internet was something that took customers away from businesses like these in favor of big-box websites. Now, by banding together on this platform, smaller businesses have an advantage they didn’t have before.”

From November to March (and into early April every so often) Lisa lives for college basketball. Specifically, for the UNC Tarheels. A lifelong fan, she takes the #1 rivalry in College Sports very seriously.

“My dad is a Duke fan,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how late the games are, if either team loses we’ll call each other to rub it in. He’s always trying to convert my kids to the Dark Side. Of course, I raised them better than that.”

Her kids are Aaron, 20 and Josiah, 15. Husband Warren is a Tarheel fan as well. They try to attend at least one game a year in Chapel Hill.

“One day I’m going to have season tickets,” Lisa says. “Maybe when I retire.”