Expositor launches virtual shopping mall

ManitoulinMall.com is for buying, selling, trading and more

MANITOULIN––It’s launched and is taking off like a rocket.

The beta (testing) version of the new ManitoulinMall.com buy-sell-trade website went live late last week and the number of members joining by press time Monday was already nosing 500.

This is another initiative of The Manitoulin Publishing Co. Ltd.’s Expositor Office, specifically of webmaster Dave Patterson. “We felt strongly that there should be a locally built and administered shopping platform,” Mr. Patterson said, “rather than people having to use one of the big international sites, like Kijiji or eBay. Most people tell us that most of their online sales end up being local anyway, so this focus of ManitoulinMall.com will be local: Manitoulin, Espanola and the North Shore. We are also promoting it into Sudbury, the Soo and Elliot Lake.”

Mr. Patterson noted that there are “about a half dozen” Manitoulin buy-sell sites, “but they are all on Facebook and the item you’re posting, or might be interested in if you’d seen it before it went by, is lost in the stream.”

Manitoulin Mall is a website, it’s free to use for private citizens and retail businesses and it’s fully classified “so if you have an antique door knocker for sale, for example, you simply post it under ‘antiques’,” Mr. Patterson said. Items can be posted with up to six photos (each up to seven MBs in size) and can stay live for up to 30 days (after which, of course, they can be renewed).

Buyers can call up particular classifications to search and if there isn’t yet a classification for an item a seller wants to post, an email to expositor@manitoulin.ca will ensure that the new classification is created.

Here’s an example. The second day that ManitoulinMall.com was live, Mr. Patterson was contacted by an Island person who said he’d like to have a classification where he could post items he wished to donate to charity. Presto. Five minutes later, that classification was live.

The site is currently free for retail businesses as well and Mr. Patterson encourages every Manitoulin business to make use of the site and create their own online store fronts.

“For them, it’s like having their own website, if they don’t already have them, and most retailers haven’t yet gone this route. But a store owner can post their entire inventory, with photos and prices, if they want to. And they should make use of this service,” Mr. Patterson stressed. “Just like a retail ad in The Expositor or The Recorder or on the news website manitoulin.ca, it’s a great way of showing everyone what you’ve got.”

Manitoulin Publishing Co. Ltd. has other quality digital projects in mind for the general benefit of Manitoulin and is presently advertising for an intern to fill a new media specialist’s position. The company has successfully sought partial funding assistance from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, based on the project’s stated goal of improving Manitoulin businesses’ opportunities to grow and expand their market.