Biz buzz: Tweeting Downtown deals

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August 3, 2009 // UPDATED 8:35 am - August 3, 2009
By: Carly Reynolds and Elizabeth Sias
Carly Reynolds and Elizabeth Sias
Looking for deals Downtown? Now you can find them through Twitter.

Charles Beck recently created a new platform of communication between local businesses and their customers using the social networking tool as a base.

TweepDeals, which launched July 19, offers advertisement of real-time deals to local businesses for free. After applying to the site, businesses can post deals — outside of normal specials — which can be viewed from a Twitter feed.

Beck came up with the idea a few months ago when he saw the way local businesses were struggling to stay afloat. Pairing that with the power of the twit-o-sphere, Beck discovered a new means of assisting local businesses.

“There’s a need here to help local businesses,” said Beck. “And the price is right.”

It takes two to five minutes to sign up for the program, and once approved, it only takes about 30 seconds for a business to post a deal. On slow nights, businesses can post specials occurring within 24 hours to get people in the door. The posts are limited to 100 characters, but include the business name, the deal or promotion and a map to the business location.

The deals cannot include regular happy hour specials and must take place within 24 hours of the posting. Beck said there is still a little gray space for posting dates, but most deals occur the day of posting.

The site sends updates to Twitter subscribers, but if you don’t have a Twitter account you can check out all the deals online at tweepdeals.com.

In the future, Beck plans to expand the platform by going mobile and creating a Google map mash-up to allow consumers to visualize deal locations.

Beck’s plan is to separate deals by location so that people can follow what they are interested in and not be inundated with spam. Right now the site is pretty much a twitter service but Beck says they are hoping to include other technologies to get deals to consumers.

“We focus on the product and then bring technology to it,” said Beck.

Other plans include personalized mini-pages for businesses, which will be offered for a small fee. Future a la carte options will allow businesses to choose what works best for them.

“One size does not fit all,” Beck said. “People need to chose what they want.”

TweepDeals works for those with Twitter currently and those without. For those with Twitter it serves as a supplement, but for businesses without Twitter it is a way to get their foot in door.

The site is up and running, but the “grand opening” of TweepDeals is not scheduled until Aug. 3. By then Beck plans to have expanded on the handful of businesses already signed up as well as on the number of followers, which now sits at around 500.

So far the site has just been re-tweeting deals, but Beck is working to build a network of businesses that constantly update the site with new promotions.

Any local business can apply, though most so far are food and entertainment businesses.

For more information visit, tweepdeals.com or twitter.com/tweepdeals.

“We’re helping local businesses thrive,” Beck said.

D’Amico Kitchen, a new restaurant by D’Amico and Partners, is set to open in the luxury art hotel Chambers in late August.

The restaurant will be a casual, contemporary Italian concept featuring at least 24 antipasti small plates priced from $8–$12, pizza, an assortment of entrees and a global wine list.

“We want to create a fun, exciting place for locals as well as a warm, welcoming destination for our out-of-town guests,” Richard D’Amico, president of D’Amico and Partners, said in a news release.

The company’s old restaurant, D’Amico Cucina, closed June 27, but its long-time chef, John Occhiato, will run the kitchen of the new establishment. He is known to create dishes around hand-selected organic ingredients from his southern Minnesota farm.

D’Amico Kitchen will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner in the 110-seat dining area and lounge, which will move from the hotel’s lower level to the main floor.

Chambers Kitchen, the hotel’s previous restaurant by Jean-Georges, effectively closed July 19 when D’Amico and Partners took over the food and beverage management.

Renovations have begun. Until the new restaurant opens, D’Amico and Partners will serve a limited, Continental/American interim menu in the hotel’s courtyard and provide 24-hour in-room dining to hotel guests.

Chambers is located at 901 Hennepin Ave.

More information on the menu and décor will be released closer to the opening.

To learn more about the Chambers hotel, visit chambersminneapolis.com.