'Everything Midlothian' trying to keep it local online

By Phil Riggan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The economic recession has forced people to rethink where, when and how they spend money, and many people are choosing to think local.

Dana and Chris Matheny moved to Midlothian about five years ago and didn't know where to get started with acclimating themselves to the popular area of western Chesterfield County.

"We're very much online people," Dana said. They saw a need for a one-stop shop where the 100,000 people that live in the area could best find information, so they created the website EverythingMidlothian.com.

"We just felt that there was a strong need to have all this information in one location," she said.

Dana has a background in graphic and web design and Chris does the grunt work, like maintaining databases. The couple said they put 200 hours of research and development into building the website before it debuted in early September.

Readers can chat in the forums and post classified ads and garage sales for free. The site also offers a business directory, school information, links to cheap gas prices, a calendar of events, coupons, weather and more.

"You have to localize the internet to make it useful to people," Chris said, adding that the goal is to help people buy, sell and work locally -- and save gas money by not driving all over the Richmond area.

"And then more people would be supporting the community, and supporting Midlothian businesses and supporting the events and the kids," Dana said.

"People that come can have the comfort of knowing you are dealing with local people and local businesses," Chris added.

They've gotten good feedback from people that have used EverythingMidlothian.com.

"We want to build it for the community. We are very interested in what other people have to say and we're happy to make changes as we're growing the website."

Dana and Chris say that they are not in it for the money with EverythingMidlothian.com, it is more a labor of love.

They signed with City America for exclusive rights to the community. If the Midlothian model succeeds, they plan to expand to other localities.

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