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The business scene in Old Town Scottsdale has entered an age of incredible growth and expansion thanks to access to new and innovative online tools and resources. For all types of local businesses – including a real estate firm, an art gallery, a taco shop, an artisan jewelry store, and a Thai bistro – the internet plays an integral role in both engaging with the local community and reaching a worldwide audience.

Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) and representatives from Internet Association member companies, including Uber, Amazon, and Zillow, among others, visited Old Town Scottsdale, a dynamic desert city with “the finest urban center in Arizona,” to see how businesses and community organizations seize fruitful online opportunities. S4 Group, J Klein Gallery, Wadaa! Tacos, The SIlver Wren, and Malee’s Thai Bistro all serve as great examples for how businesses can increase sales, enlarge their presence and impact by using the internet.

The internet helps main street businesses and organizations create jobs, connect with consumers, and compete worldwide. IA’s Internet Community Crawls showcase the ways the internet drives economic growth and jobs in communities across the country. Watch what main street business and their elected representatives had to say about the importance of the internet to their local economy in IA’s Connected video series.

The internet boosts economic and social opportunity in Scottsdale and communities across the country… Online platforms empower small businesses and community groups all across Arizona to connect people, raise money for charitable work, expand business, create new jobs, and reach new customers. The internet industry appreciates Rep. Schweikert’s participation in today’s crawl and his commitment to supporting the sharing economy and entrepreneurial community in Scottsdale.

Melika Carroll, IA Senior Vice President of Global Government Affairs

Communities like Scottsdale… are cutting-edge in their adoption of technology. It turns out, if you’re gonna find customers and talk to them, you actually have to be willing to do everything, and the internet and the technology that come with that gives you so many options to talk to those customers.

Congressman David Schweikert

S4 Group

S4 Group is a local real estate company dedicated to serving and expanding the Scottsdale community. Manager Jenny McCall explained how the internet transformed the local real estate industry by allowing S4 Group to reach buyers and sellers through home-searching websites like Zillow. S4 Group also uses social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to update their customers on new listings, tips on buying a house and getting a mortgage and even updates on their employees lives. Ultimately, their social media allows them to spread their mission of professionalism and quality service to all audiences.

[The internet] has transformed our business because it’s allowed us to have a broader reach. It’s gone global, so there are no limits to us being able to reach out to potential buyers for our listings and also potential sellers.

Jenny McCall, Manager of S4 Group

J Klein Gallery

J Klein Gallery brings enthusiasm and sophistication to Scottsdale’s Art District by showcasing the works of three family artists. Manager Sarah Klein knows the value of online platforms and ensures the gallery takes full advantage of their presence on social media with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram by posting photos of their art, creating community events at the gallery, and even creating behind the scenes videos. By accessing the internets’ many tools and wide e-commerce market, this local gallery is able to widen their reach and drive sales.

You can actually buy the paintings on our website, and that makes it a lot easier for follow-ups because if someone is interested in a painting, we can send them the link that goes to the website… There’s about 300 paintings, and we have all of those up to view.

Sarah Klein, Manager of J Klein Gallery

Wadaa! Tacos

Owner of Wadaa! Tacos Miguel Sanchez

Next, we visited Wadaa! Tacos, a brick-and-mortar restaurant started by Miguel Sanchez, a local entrepreneur who previously made a living by driving for Uber. Miguel uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote his authentic Mexican street food and engage with local community events and organizations. Beyond social media, the internet has facilitated the expansion of Wadaa! Tacos by making processes – like catering, ordering, and delivery – more convenient and accessible.

The way the internet has transformed the restaurant industry is everybody’s on their phone… So when people are looking for you, if you’re not on the internet or some sort of platform – which would be Uber Eats, GrubHub, Eat24, Google – you’re gonna die.

Miguel Sanchez, Owner of Wadaa! Tacos

The Silver Wren

Owner of The Silver Wren Michelle Hebert

Next, we met with Michelle Hebert, owner of The Silver Wren, a jewelry store that specializes in personalized and meaningful handcrafted designs. She relies on platforms like Etsy and Amazon Handmade as dynamic hubs for commerce and trade. By posting photos of merchandise, announcing new products and letting customers know about upcoming sales on their Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts, The Silver Wren attracts a wide range of potential clients and best identifies the needs of current clients.

Internet is very important to our business. In fact, that is our business… Marketplaces like Amazon Handmade allow us the opportunity to get our product in front of people. We use the internet to reach customers globally.

Michelle Hebert, Owner of The Silver Wren

Malee’s Thai Bistro

We ended our day at Malee’s Thai Bistro, an upscale restaurant that prides itself on high quality Thai cuisine, stellar service and being a community staple.

With over 30 years of experience, Owner Deidre Pain has ensured her business’ success through adopting a wide variety of innovative online tools. Mobile delivery applications empowers Deidre to deliver food to more clients and increase sales. Mail newsletters let her update regulars on specials and other news and drive community engagement. Online marking allows her to more efficiently target relevant audiences and save money that was previously spent on paper advertising. Overall, internet platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, have granted Malee’s the opportunity to expand their customer base, community presence and increase its bottom line.

The internet has helped me connect with customers. Before, if I wanted to announce something that was happening, I’d actually have to send a physical letter, a snail mail… but with the internet, I have my email newsletter list. I send things out. I post it on Facebook. It has been a game changer for me.

Deidre Pain, Owner of Malee’s Thai Bistro

Fun Fact: Arizona is home to 3,800 internet companies and over 46,300 internet sector jobs.

Want to read more on the Scottsdale crawl? Check out the coverage from the Scottsdale Independent.