Yes, there is an app for that.
Downtown Williams Lake launched their new free app this month. Functioning as a map and guide of the businesses and attractions of Williams Lake’s downtown core, the app will be the legacy of former marketing director Vanessa Moberg, who has spent the last few months working with GoLocalApps, a company based out of California, to develop it.
With a slick design, easy to use interface and ongoing support through updates, the app offers both locals and visitors to lakecity all they need to know about the 350 businesses and nonprofits that the downtown area boasts, said Stefanie Hendrickson, the executive director of Downtown Williams Lake.
Hendrickson said she was somewhat hesitant to approve the project when it was first presented to her. They’d been fortunate enough to receive Rural Dividend Grants from the Province of British Colombia to help launch their brand and she wasn’t sure that such an investment would work.
As the grant was also funding Moberg’s temporary position, who pushed for it, Hendrickson decided to let her proceed. Moberg then also secured additional funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust and took point on the development of the app.
Hendrickson said she thought a new app would be a good way to help put downtown Williams Lake on the map. Indeed, many of the colourful Cariboo culture banners and signs that have gone up across the downtown recently have also been the result of this grant at work.
“This app, from what we have found, is one of only a handful in all of B.C. These apps are becoming a little more popular internationally in bigger cities, for sure,” Hendrickson said. “Basically it is a destination app for the downtown area and it provides visitors or locals with a complete list of all the services, retails and restaurants within the downtown.”
In addition to providing a location on the map and general information about each member business, Hendrickson said the app also links businesses’ websites and social media, should they have them. For history buffs, the app also chronicles the location of each of the many beautiful murals in the area and provides the story behind each of them.
Places to eat, swim and skate are also listed, Hendrickson said, along with local parks, the Cariboo Regional District Library and other amenities like free parking. For those looking to street park RV’s or other similar-sized vehicles, the app also provides location and information on how to do that legally and safely.
The app also has information on the four events Downtown Williams Lake organizes and supports annually. Its user interface was designed to be intuitive and first-time app user friendly, which was a major factor in the design process, Hendrickson said.
Perhaps most importantly for the users’ convenience, Hendrickson said they chose to make the app not dependent on Wi-Fi to work. Once downloaded the user can use it completely offline, though she added updates on business information will come monthly. Businesses interested in updating their information can email changes such as location, phone number and website URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The app is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store and functions on both Android and iPhones.
Hendrickson said she hopes through the app or other means, people continue to explore and experience all that Williams Lakes downtown core has to offer.