April 1, 2009 in Business

New Web site spotlights best Spokane-area happy hours

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Check out HappySpokane.com or follow updates on Twitter.

Two Web developers say Spokane needs an online source for finding the best deals on happy hours. They’ve just launched a site, HappySpokane.com, devoted to tracking more than 700 area establishments.

Happy hours may seem less interesting than a town’s music scene or restaurant fare. But HappySpokane’s founders, Levi Dean and Tim Chapman, disagree. They say the Spokane-Post Falls-Coeur d’Alene scene is an always-changing landscape of choices and opportunities.

Like other sites with a similar idea, HappySpokane has one main goal – letting people search for deals. Launched last week, HappySpokane allows searches by location, day of the week or establishment name. One also can choose a specific time of evening, say from 6 p.m. on.

Using the site requires a free registration.

Starting the business during an economic downturn makes sense, Chapman added. “People are looking for ways to save money,” he said. “They still want that feel-good option of going out with buddies and not spending a lot of money.”

Chapman is owner of Spokane Web development firm Alt 29, at which Dean is an account executive.

For now, the only option on HappySpokane is searching for happy hour locations. Later, it will add a social option, letting those who sign up form groups or networks so that friends can track plans to get together, Chapman said.

Another later addition will be creating a version of the site for mobile devices. “We needed to get the site up and running and get it out there,” Chapman said. “That will be one of the features we work on over time.”

A key step will be persuading area bars and restaurants to take an active role in updating their site profile and happy hour information. All area clubs and restaurants get a free account so they can manage their listings, said Dean, who is in charge of managing HappySpokane.

Generating a profit will require getting clubs or restaurants to upgrade to a paid monthly membership. With a $50 monthly fee, area bars, restaurants and clubs get to upload menus, photos and coupons to HappySpokane. “It won’t just be about happy hours when the bars are using it,” Dean said. “You will be able to search for a happy hour near a specific venue … to find out where your favorite band is playing.”


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