Launch Local, a new organization based in Chapel Hill, is aiming to help local business owners improve their digital resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded by UNC graduate Varun Amesur in November, Launch Local provides college students and business owners the opportunity to collaborate and form partnerships in marketing and strategy consulting.
“Small businesses very heavily rely on traffic to their stores,” Amesur said. “When the pandemic hit, traffic to these stores fell dramatically. There was a market for small businesses who wanted to digitize their storefronts and college students desired more real-world experience and opportunities.”
Launch Local’s first client is Classic Carolina — a UNC apparel store on Franklin Street operated by Kris Chellani and his father.
Chellani said business has been difficult because of the pandemic.
“With the student population gone, with the alumni being gone, it’s definitely been hard,” he said. “And foot traffic has gone down significantly.”
Since starting the organization, Amesur has partnered with UNC senior Nikita Billman, UNC graduate Ben Trybulski and five other college graduates to serve as founding members of the organization.
Billman, a major in business administration, said Launch Local specializes in increasing the digital presence for clients, which includes market research, website development and digital marketing campaigns on social media.
“With our current client, we’re helping out with search engine optimization, which backlinks on websites,” Billman said. “Connecting a larger network of websites together, which increases the position when you Google ‘Classic Carolina.’”