Chattanooga entrepreneur Josh Dillion will soon launch a company that aims to provide local businesses with access to a discount program, similar to Groupon, but at no cost to the company.
"On the business owner end, it's zero risk, zero investment for them," he said.
Through his new business, which is called Chattanooga On Demand, he will sell discounted gift cards and gift certificates from local stores.
Participating businesses will have their discounted offers available through the Chattanooga On Demand website.
Dillon makes money by charging consumers $10 a month to get access to all the deals.
"Our business model is designed to help give back to the local community as much as possible," he said. "It's taking Groupon and turning it around to where it's not a win-lose situation."
A problem with Groupon is that business owners likely lose money, in the hopes that the the person using the discount will spend on other items or become a regular customer.
Consumers can sign up now to be included on Dillon's mailing list, and a few days before the Oct. 15 launch, he will send information to people who want to get the discounts.
Area business owners who want to participate by offering gift cards and certificates through the site can contact Dillon at email@example.com.
Eventually, Dillon has dreams of taking his business nationwide, and keeping the corporate headquarters in Chattanooga. He hopes he eventually can bring thosuands of jobs to the area.
Other area business people in the past have sought to redesign the Groupon and LivingSocial concepts. For example, last year, CEO of local company Bankcard Solutions Erika Halter started a daily business deal site, called CLASSeCASH, that focused on giving some money back to education.
Also last year, two Chattanooga business men launched a deal-of-the-day site called Lookout Monster, which appears to be out of business now.
Dillion said his business model is to give back to local businesses as much as possible. And he said the cost to consumers of $10 a month is also a way to support area companies and get discounts.
"It's a different way to approach this without pinning all the liability on the business owner," he said.
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