News / Winnipeg

New app encourages Winnipeggers to buy local

Eight businesses have signed up for new mobile app rewards program

Ian Scatliff (left) and Tyler Ibrahim (right) stand with Ana Damaskin at Nick’s on Broadway, Feb. 22, 2016. Damaskin is optimistic that Scatliff and Ibrahim’s new app, The Local Frequency, will encourage Winnipeggers to shop local.

Bailey Hildrebrand/ For Metro

Ian Scatliff (left) and Tyler Ibrahim (right) stand with Ana Damaskin at Nick’s on Broadway, Feb. 22, 2016. Damaskin is optimistic that Scatliff and Ibrahim’s new app, The Local Frequency, will encourage Winnipeggers to shop local.

A local company is hoping a new mobile rewards application will encourage people to keep their money in Winnipeg.

The Local Frequency launched last week, and stores are already signing up to bring in more customers. Employees at Protegra, a Winnipeg-based software company, developed the app.

“If you shop at any participating business and you have the app on your phone and you pay with debit or cash, you get a three per cent reward in the form of local points,” said Tyler Ibrahim, one of The Local Frequency’s team members.

 “It’s cash back, but local cash back. You can only spend it within the network.”

So far, that network includes eight businesses, but Ibrahim said they’re hoping more businesses sign up soon.

Before development, the team talked to more than 100 businesses in Winnipeg to discuss struggles they had.

Maintaining visibility was among top concerns.

“It’s very expensive to get visible nowadays,” Ibrahim explained.

Jonathan McPhail rolls out gluten-free sticky bun dough at Jonnies Sticky Buns, Feb. 22, 2016. McPhail is one of the entrepreneurs who was consulted in the early planning stages of The Local Frequency

Bailey Hildrebrand/ For Metro

Jonathan McPhail rolls out gluten-free sticky bun dough at Jonnies Sticky Buns, Feb. 22, 2016. McPhail is one of the entrepreneurs who was consulted in the early planning stages of The Local Frequency

“It’s kind of a fight between small, local business and a large national chain that has lots of marketing dollars and is savvy in that area.”

Ana Damaskin, co-owner of restaurant Nick’s on Broadway, hopes The Local Frequency will bring more people to her sandwich shop, and nearby businesses.

“We try to use local suppliers and we felt like this was a great opportunity because not only are they going to be promoting us with the app, we can promote other businesses through us as well,” Damaskin said.

Jonnies Sticky Buns also uses The Local Frequency. Owner Jonathan McPhail is one of the entrepreneurs who sat down with the developers in the planning stages and said he’s seen some of his ideas in the final product.

“It has a lot of promise to be something that can be mutually beneficial, which is always a bit of an issue with stuff like this because sometimes developers will lean a little too heavily on either the customer or the business,” McPhail said.

 The Local Frequency app is available on iOS and Android devices.