In May of 2000, Emily Akin and Brad Carman, members of Leadership Obion County Board of Trustees, were in charge of the economic development day session. They invited several local business representatives Melissa Austin (Closets by Design), Lyda Rice (Fashion Network), and David James (E. W. James & Sons Supermarkets) to participate in a panel discussion along with Dr. Tim Johnston, Professor of Marketing at UTM. Melissa presented the "shop-at-home" point of view and Lyda and David contributed their ideas. Dr. Johnston, whose area of expertise is e-commerce, discussed ways to use the internet in developing business both locally and globally. Sheila Napier (Cawley), a member of that year’s leadership class, voiced a concern that local businesses have a lot to offer and that many consumers are not aware of what is available locally. She also pointed out that new businesses often cannot afford massive advertising, further contributing to the awareness problem.
From this panel discussion, the seeds were planted for Obion County Shop at Home.com. Melissa, Lyda and Sheila wanted to find someone to help make a local internet business directory a reality. They found John Dunker, a computer consultant and retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. John acquired the domain name, set up the site and manages it, making continuous improvements as more and more members join. Emily Akin later joined the effort as part-time sales representative.
Promotions, such as the Easter Egg Hunt, the Christmas Shopping Contest and the Valentine Dream Date drawing, have created public interest and increased traffic to the site. Features such as the swap shop page and the chat page also are intended to attract more visitors. See Contest Winners Page.
John Dunker, OCSAH owner-manager, compares notes with Emily Akin, sales rep for the site.
Sheila Napier, John Dunker, Lyda Rice, Myrtle Harton and Emily Akin meet regularly to generate ideas for promotions and to help build the membership in OCSAH. You don’t need a personal invitation. Just be there!
If you buy what you need from local merchants, several things happen.
If you spend your money in Jackson, Dyersburg, or any other community outside Obion County, you:
John Dunker, 731-479-3593, Efirstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Akin, 731-885-4695, Eemail@example.com
Sheila Cawley, 731-885-0406, Efirstname.lastname@example.org