Log On and Tap In - An Internet Start-up Raises the Bars
April 25, 2000
On Thursday, April 27, NMBars.com launches on the web, the culmination of nearly a year’s preparation by MBA students Brett Hills and Chad Cooper, and art director Tara Camacho.
“I was working at a bar that downloaded digital images of their patrons. As a result, the vacationers would call their friends back home and tell them to check out the website to see them enjoying their Caribbean experience,” Hills said, “and then I thought about ways to introduce this concept to establishments in New Mexico as a highly effective marketing tool.”
NMBars.com, described by the owners as a way to “bar hop online,” is more than a listing of the best brewpubs and cocktail hours in town. The interactive site includes a web presence for participating bars in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and the Taos Ski Valley. Online patrons accessing the bars through NMBars.com will also be able to get the most up-to-date information on special events, entertainment, and drink and food specials at all of the locations. In addition, visitors to NMBars.com will be able to print coupons and maps.
“Let’s say you have some friends coming in to town at the end of next month,” explains Cooper, who has developed the site’s bar and club database, “and you know they are into jazz. All you have to do is log on to NMBars.com and find out where there will be some cool jazz playing, what drink specials the bar may have at the time, and plan something great for your guests.”
“An additional advantage of the site is that it enables patrons to see the bars before they pay a visit,” said Hills, the start-up firm’s president.
“It can be really intimidating to go to a new place,” he said, “and with our full-color pictures of each bar, you know just what the atmosphere is like before you go. NMBars.com will also allow you to access a map to the bar so you know just how to get there and where to park.”
The start-up is being wise about its strategic partners. In addition to the variety of bars featured at NMBars.com, the site will also feature direct access to a ride service so that patrons – expected to include locals, tourist, and conventioneers –stay safe.
The NMBars.com team, which has expanded to include other business students in web development and sales functions for the company, used their classes in entrepreneurship and electronic commerce to test their idea for the business.
“We had to write a business plan and early on we realized that we wanted to make it count,” said Hills, who presented the business plan to friends and family for start-up financing. With that base, the company has already been approached by a venture capitalist for the next round of financing.
Using their experience as bar patrons, Hills and Cooper are sure they have a hit with NMBars.com. They are so confident that they have already secured web addresses for other markets where visitors are looking for entertainment.
“With NMBars.com, we are creating a new kind of service that we know will only grow with the public’s reliance on the Internet,” said Hills. “It’s a new age, and we’re excited to create a place where people can log on and tap in to the fun of New Mexico."
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