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Scarsdale Resident Proposes Shopping App to Revitalize Village Business

smartphoneHere are remarks from Scarsdale resident Marty Rolnick, delivered at the June 13th meeting of the Scarsdale Village Board:

The number of vacant storefronts in our Village of Scarsdale recently reached a high of 15. I think that revitalizing Scarsdale is one of top priorities for us as a community. There's a strong collective effort underway by a number of citizens to solve this problem, yet we need to do much more and fast.

Just like advancements in technology can be a major cause of what looks like the impending death of retail, it can actually save retail in Scarsdale. As a philosopher, marketing lunatic and ideaholic, my craft is all about the conceiving and spreading of ideas.

Together with a technology genius, I've developed an idea for a smart phone application called Virtuous Scarsdale. It has great potential to revitalize Scarsdale.

It will satisfy the hunger of our small businesses imperative to increase foot traffic and sales, quest the thirst of Scarsdale Not-For-Profit (NFP) Organizations to maximize fundraising efforts while harnessing the passion of Scarsdale Residents who desire to make a positive difference in our community. It's a sustainable business model that will keep your hard earned money in circulation throughout our Scarsdale Community 365 days each and every year! Hence the name, Virtuous Scarsdale!

Any local merchant and NFP wanting to participate would be programmed into the user friendly, turn-key Virtuous Scarsdale App.

All Scarsdale NFP's who choose to participate will have one month to unleash the power of social media and call out to all the friends and family members of their favorite organization to spend as much money as possible for the goods and services of the participating small businesses of Scarsdale.

A Virtuous Scarsdale App Leadership Committee would be formed representing Scarsdale Village Government, 501 C3 clearing house, Scarsdale local merchants, Scarsdale NFP organizations, Scarsdale residents, Scarsdale village landlords. This committee will decide the particular month in which each NFP will participate. The goal is to space out equally over the year all the NFP's month of fundraising so there will be consistent and significant foot traffic every day, 12 months a year throughout the village.

Here's how it works:
First, the Virtuous Scarsdale App needs to be downloaded.

After a shopper makes his/her purchase at a participating downtown merchant, she opens the app, searches and clicks on that merchant, then does the same for their favorite NFP, enters the purchase total and then takes a picture of the receipt. When she clicks 'submit,' 10% (or whatever % the business decides) of that purchase is immediately designated for her chosen NFP.

All this data would be seamlessly pooled to a designated 501 C3 organization like Scarsdale resident Jane Veron's TAP. Because it is also a 501(c) (3), the 10% (or x%) that is sent by the merchant may qualify for a tax-write off.

In addition, another benefit of the transactions generated from the Virtuous Scarsdale App would result in the acquisition of real time data that could be used to help our business community grow.

TAP or a similar 501C3 organization could also become the village's de facto marketing resource available for all Scarsdale merchants. It would provide expertise in advertising, email and promotional campaigns, exterior signage and more. Wouldn't that be a good value added incentive to attract potential businesses to our community?

Through the power of technology, the Scarsdale Virtuous App will be programmed to send out monthly invoices for reconciliation, auto debit the funds from the merchant's accounts and deposit the funds raised directly into the NFP accounts.

The Virtuous Scarsdale App will allow all stakeholders to have real time access to all transactions. Each stakeholder will have a dashboard along with a user id and password to access the data.

It's a powerful tool for both the economy and the ecology of our community.

A recent empty nester, I've been a proud resident of over 17 years in Scarsdale and have experienced the incredible generosity of our community. Together with my wife Marguerite, we raised three wonderful children who were fortunate to graduate and benefit from the amazing Scarsdale School system. I love living in Scarsdale.

And it's because of this I want to give back!

The price to develop the Virtuous Scarsdale App would require only a $12,000 investment with a $250 monthly hosting and maintenance fee after it went live. It will be owned by our community! For the record, I will not be receiving any financial benefit from the application. I would like this to be my contribution to the Scarsdale community.

I'd welcome any thoughts and help to move this idea from conception to execution. Living with the Virtuous Scarsdale App will revitalize our downtown and will benefit us all.

Thank you!
Marty Rolnick
113 Lee Road


#3 Ditto to 16 year resident 2017-06-27 15:01
Over at the 5 Corners, I experienced the same problem at All Good Things. I bought a jump rope from them that *immediately* broke and they wouldn't take it back or even credit it with a darn ice cream. I get that they have their own economic issues but seriously? Anyhow, +1 for Virtuous Scarsdale!
#2 D. Smith 2017-06-22 17:07
Good piece. We need to be creative about how to revitalize Scarsdale. I hope that the Village can work with Marty's idea.
#1 16 year resident 2017-06-22 13:55
I also love living here and want to support our local merchants. I was extremely frustrated yesterday when i went to return something to a store less then 24 hours after purchasing it and they told me store credit only. Furthermore the credit must be used within a year. If they want to be more competitive and want the locals to shop there, they too should be more neighborly and think about these polices. I will no longer return to this store.

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